There is a tough fight between the Congress candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and BJP candidate Harsha Mahajan amid speculations of cross-voting as polling for the lone Rajya Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh is underway on Tuesday.
Several Congress leaders, led by former chief minister Siddaramaiah, were detained by the police during a protest march against the Karnataka government on Saturday.
The protesters demanded the arrest of BJP MLA Madal Virupaksha, whose son was caught taking a bribe by the state’s Lokayukta. The anti-corruption wing of Lokayukta raided the residence of the MLA’s son, Prashant Madal, during which they recovered Rs 6 crore in cash.
Now the Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly, Siddaramaiah hit out at Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai saying that the latter’s claim that his government was ‘corruption-free’ was nothing but a ‘lie’.
“The CM lied to the people when he said his government is corruption-free. Why was so much money recovered from the MLA’s son then?” Siddarammaiah said.
Earlier, on Thursday, Karnataka Lokayukta officers caught Virupaksha’s son, a chief accountant at Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), while he was allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 40 lakh from a contractor.
“The anti-corruption branch of Lokayukta caught Prashanth Maadal, son of BJP MLA Maadal Virupakshappa while he was taking a bribe of Rs 40 lakh. Over Rs 1.7 crore in cash was recovered from his office,” the Karnataka Lokayukta said in a statement earlier.
Reacting to the recovery of alleged bribe money from the residence of the BJP MLA’s son, CM Bommai said an impartial investigation was being conducted into the corruption charge against the BJP MLA and his son.
“The Lokayukta, which was closed during the Congress government, was re-launched by us with the aim of comprehensively curbing corruption in the state. It is our stand that the Lokayukta should conduct an independent and impartial investigation into this matter (recovery of cash from the house of the MLA’s son),” tweeted Bommai.
However, the CM’s assurance of a fair probe did not wash with Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy, who demanded Bommai’s resignation in the light of the scandal.
“Scams and corruption are rife in the state. The government had been asking for evidence. The recovery of cash from the residence of the BJP MLA’s son is proof of this government’s corruption. We demand that the CM tender his resignation over this,” said Reddy.
According to the Lokayukta, more than Rs 1.7 crore in cash was found at Prashanth Madal’s office.
Significantly, in the light of the seizure of cash from his son’s house, the BJP MLA on Friday stepped down as the chairman of Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited Limited.
Further, hitting back at Union Home minister Amit Shah, who claimed earlier that the Congress and the JD(S) ranked No.1 in corruption, Siddramaiah said, “Amit Shah is a big liar”.