Karnataka BJP chief rejects quit demand over graft - The New Indian Express

Karnataka BJP chief rejects quit demand over graft

Published: 19th December 2012 08:49 PM

Last Updated: 19th December 2012 08:49 PM

Karnataka BJP president and Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa Wednesday rejected a demand for his resignation from both the posts following police launching a probe into corruption charges against him.

"There is no question of resignation. However, I will cooperate in the probe," Eshwarappa told reporters here amid growing demand from the Congress that he quit the cabinet and a section in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that he leave the party post also.

Police attached to Lokayukta (ombudsman) have begun the probe into charges after registering a first information report (FIR) that marks the formal launch of investigation against Eshwarappa, his son and daughter-in-law.

The FIR was registered Monday in Shimoga, his home town, about 280 km north of Bangalore, on the direction of the Lokayukta court on a complaint by Shimoga advocate B. Vinod.

The advocate charged Eshwarappa of owning huge properties in Shimoga by corrupt means.

Lokayukta police are to complete the probe and submit the report by Feb 4, 2013.

A Bangalore-based journalist Nagalakshmi Bai has submitted documents to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj alleging corruption against Eshwarappa and sought permission to prosecute him.

Bhardwaj, who had two years ago sanctioned prosecution of former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa of the BJP for corruption and illegal land deals, has said he was studying the documents which "are voluminous".

He said after going through the documents he will seek advice of Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.

While the governor can take decision to sanction prosecution of chief minister on corruption charges, he has no power to do so over other ministers. He has to go by the advice of the chief minister.

Trouble for Eshwarappa and his party comes when Karnataka assembly elections are less than six months away.

They are due May next but buzz in political circles is that they could be held in March itself.

The BJP chief joins the over 20 party ministers and legislators fighting corruption cases in the state.

Incidentally Shimoga is the political base of Yeddyurappa who represented the Shikaripura assembly constituency in the district. He quit the BJP and assembly Nov 30 to lead his own outfit, Karnataka Janata Party.

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