Digvijay Defends Karnataka Cabinet Induction of Shivakumar, Baig
By Express News Service | Published: 07th January 2014 08:18 AM |
As the debate over the induction of two tainted MLAs into the Cabinet continues, AICC general secretary and incharge of party affairs in Karnataka Digvijay Singh defended the induction of D K Shivakumar and R Roshan Baig.
“They are neither chargesheeted nor convicted. It is the Chief Minister’s right to choose his council of ministers. We have carefully studied these cases and none of them are chargesheeted or convicted,” he said at a press conference after the Congress coordination committee meeting.
When Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who was also present, was asked whether he would drop these ministers once they are chargesheeted, he said: “No one is guilty until proven. One cannot become corrupt just because of the filing a chargesheet or if a case is slapped against them.”
When it was pointed out that Energy Minister Shivakumar has been chargesheeted in a land denotification case, Siddaramaiah asked the scribe to show him the chargesheet.
The Lokayukta has filed a chargesheet against the minister, naming him accused number two, while making former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa accused number one. BJP MLC Lehar Singh is accused number six among others. Anti-corruption activist S R Hiremath told reporters in Hubli that a chargesheet was filed against Shivakumar before the Additional District and Sessions Judge of the Special Court for Prevention of Corruption on June 21, 2012, for denotification of land measuring four acres at Bennigahalli. Subsequently, the minister had managed to obtain a stay from the High court, he said. “As per the Karnataka Land (Restriction on Transfer) Act of 1991, land once acquired cannot be sold or purchased by anybody. Despite this, Shivakumar purchased it and got it denotified in 2010 when B S Yeddyurappa was the CM. Interestingly, the denotification was done in the name of the original owner B K Srinivas, almost six years after his death,” Hiremath said.
Shivakumar was not accessible for a reaction.
Firing a salvo at Shivakumar, Hiremath of Samaja Parivartana Samudaya also released a set of documents to substantiate his allegations against the minister.
He urged the Congress leadership to suspend Shivakumar from the Cabinet in the backdrop of the release of what he called “clinching evidence”.
The documents show that Shivakumar wrote to then CM Dharam Singh recommending supply of iron ore fines to various firms, which were allegedly floated by his brother D K Suresh, who is now an MP, and others during his tenure as minister and later as an MLA.
Hiremath alleged that Shivakumar made a windfall from selling 10.8 lakh metric tonnes of high-quality iron ore fines from state-owned Mysore Minerals Limited at throwaway prices to firms owned by his family.