Karnataka will form an SIT to examine the audio tapes of BS Yeddyurappa
BENGALURU: In a major jolt and a setback to the opposition, BJP and
its leader BS Yeddyurappa who have been
supposedly scheming an “operation lotus” to topple the coalition
government, chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Monday at the
legislative assembly said the government will form a special
investigation team (SIT) to probe the audio tapes controversy and
submit a report in 15 days.
The tapes which were released to the media on February 8 early morning, is purportedly a conversation between Yeddyurappa, another BJP MLA from Devadurg Shivangouda Naik and son of Gurmitkal JD(S) MLA Nadangouda Kandakur, with the former two trying to lure the ruling coalition party MLA with money and power apart casting aspersions on Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar being “booked” to accept the resignations of the coalition legislators.
No sooner did the house convene on Monday morning, the speaker suo moto raised the issue of the audio tapes allegedly maligning his name and that of the chair. He did not take any names of legislators whose voice is supposedly heard on the tapes.
“Either he should be in politics or I should be in politics. I cannot show my face to my wife, my family and my sole surviving brother because of this controversy,” said a rather emotional Kumar, stating that he has not gone to his home over the last two days.
Earlier, Kumar said on February 8 at 12.10 pm CM Kumaraswamy had sent a letter to his office along with the audio tape to notify him of the developments which involved the mention of his name.
“I have heard the audio tapes which has been shared with me and unfortunately my name has been mentioned it. The audio suggests that a person with a responsible position in this house has said I, Ramesh Kumar, has been been given Rs 50 crore and will accept the resignations immediately after they are submitted. The audio further goes on to say that even if I do not, then the issue will be managed somehow. Even the prime minister name has been mentioned,” said Kumar.
Kumar said he inferred from the audio tapes that the person who has spoken about him having been given Rs 50 crore is a person who was previously also involved in the resignation of 12 persons that led to a new government being formed .
“If aspersions are cast on my character I will not be eligible to continue in the chair as it would send a message that I can be easily manipulated one way or the other,” said the Speaker.
The emotional outburst of the Speaker prompted the legislators across both sides of the aisle to declare their support and confidence in Kumar and urged him to not take any hasty decisions.
RDPR minister Krishna Byre Gowda stood up to extend the support and claim the audio tapes were a breach of privilege and stands in contempt of the house.
Water resources minister DK Shivakumar in fact said in the house that information recieved by him suggested that Kumar was planning to resign from his post.
The Srinivaspura MLA, who was the speaker in 1994-1999, has a precedence of initiating such actions in his first term as a speaker over political differences with the government.
However, despite extending its support to the chair, the BJP protested the formation of an SIT by the coalition government as it said there was no faith in the coalition government.
“When the government itself is party to the entire controversy, with the CM himself claiming to have recorded the conversation how can we trust the government to hold an impartial inquiry?” questioned BJP MLA Madhuswamy.
The BJP demanded the Speaker to recommend the names to the SIT instead of the government.
While CM Kumaraswamy agreed to the demand, Kumar said since aspersions were cast on him it was not right on his part to give any suggestions to the government.