BENGALURU: Legislative Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar on Monday sought a Special Investigation Team to be set up to probe the controversial audio tapes row and submit a report within 15 days.This comes three days after Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy submitted a copy of the tapes that purportedly show BJP leaders referring to a payment of R50 crore as bribe to the Speaker.
Ramesh Kumar, who said he was deeply hurt by his name being dragged into the controversy, began the proceedings in the House by taking up the matter suo motu. “I suggest to the CM — I am unwilling to call it a direction, but trust the CM to consider this suggestion as a direction — to appoint an SIT. The terms of reference may be the CM’s prerogative,” Ramesh Kumar said.
He said the merits and the demerits of the tape were not in question and suggested to the CM that the SIT should probe only those portions of the tape that mentioned his name. The Speaker’s decision to authorise the CM to order an inquiry infuriated the BJP that raised questions over the government’s impartiality.
For the first time since the budget session began, the Assembly functioned smoothly with both the ruling and the opposition parties engaging in a civilised debate over the matter of the Speaker’s name being mentioned in a tape that purportedly shows attempts to topple the coalition government. Soon, however, there was an uproar over the ruling coalition insisting that the tapes be probed in their entirety and BJP demanding that the probe be limited to the charge against the Speaker.
Politicos urge Speaker not to take hasty decision
“The Chief Minister released the tapes to the media. Hence, he is party to the matter. We do not trust this government to carry out a fair probe,” said J C Madhu Swamy (BJP) leading his party’s charge against the JD(S)-Congress coalition in the House.
As an emotional Ramesh Kumar addressed the House of the difficult circumstances he had found himself in, a host of legislators including BJP’s K S Eshwarappa, K G Bopaiah and Congress’ D K Shivakumar and H K Patil appealed that the Speaker not to take any hasty decision. The concern from the legislators came in the backdrop of speculations that Ramesh Kumar may step down as Speaker over purported allegations of being compromised.
The entire House not only reposed faith in the Speaker and vouched for Ramesh Kumar’s integrity but also agreed on the need for an investigation into the matter. The ruling party and the opposition, however, disagreed on the authority that would investigate the matter and the specific content that requires probing. Debate on the tapes, their veracity and disagreements took up the entire day of the House with no other business being transacted.
Ruckus in house
Speaker takes up audio tapes issue suo motu Both BJP and ruling party agree on need for probe They disagree on content and probing authority BJP seeks judicial or House panel probe
disqualify 4 rebel MLAs: Congress
Tired of the games its four rebel MLAs are indulging in, the Congress on Monday took a step towards disqualifying them. Congress Legislature Party chairman Siddaramaiah, KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao and Deputy CM G Parameshwara submitted a petition to the Speaker asking him to disqualify the MLAs under the anti-defection law
Kharge, Gowda raise issue in LS
The Lok Sabha on Monday saw Congress members led by party leader in the Lower House Mallikarjun Kharge raising the issue of alleged poaching attempts by BJP in Karnataka. Soon after, JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda too dwelt on the subject and said how ‘Operation Lotus’ was a threat to democracy.