Congress leader Digvijay Singh today said it was the 'right' of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to have inducted D K Shivakumar and Roshan Baig, whose inclusion has triggered a controversy for being "scam tainted".
"The criteria, when anyone is taken in the ministry, it is the right of the Chief Minister (to induct Shivakumar and Baig)," he told reporters after the party's coordination committee meeting here.
Siddaramaiah, who was with Singh, said there are no FIRs against Baig and Shivakumar, and in fact they were his choice after the matter was discussed with the party high command.
"(They were) my choice only. After discussing it with the High Command I inducted (them)," he said.
The Chief Minister also said there was no pressure from the high command to induct Baig and Shivakumar.
Singh also said Baig and Shivakumar were inducted after ascertaining there were no chargesheet and pending cases against them in the court of law.
"When these (Baig and Shivakumar) names were considered, adequate precautions were taken to see that there was no chargesheet pending against them in the court. And only after that were they inducted," he said.
Singh claimed that Congress in the entire country has not inducted leaders facing corruption charges and chargesheeted, whereas BJP has inducted such leaders.
"We have number of names of BJP ministers in different states who have been chargesheeted and yet continued to be in the cabinet. Babubhai (Bokhiriya), Gujarat Minister, has been convicted and still continues in the cabinet," he said.
Gujarat Water Resources Minister Bokhiriya was sentenced to three years imprisonment in 2006 illegal mining case by a Sessions Court in Porbandar in June last year. Bokhiriya was found guilty in illegal mining case.
Asked if he would take action against Baig and Shivakumar if chargesheeted, Siddaramaiah said, "Let us see. For now, we have information that there is no chargesheet. Even if they are chargesheeted, one cannot say they are guilty."
On the brewing discontent over denial of ministerial berths in the recent cabinet expansion, Siddaramaiah said the demand by senior Congress leaders for ministerial berths cannot be termed as dissident activities.
"There are too many senior leaders in Congress aspiring to become ministers, and when they come with their demands to accomodate them in the cabinet, it doesn't mean they are indulging in dissident activities," he said.
Asked if former Chief Minister and KJP supremo B S Yeddyurappa's return to BJP would have any impact on Lok Sabha polls in the state, Siddaramaiah said it would be 'congenial' for the party's prospects.