BANGALORE: The BJP and the ruling Congress clashed for a second day over the denotification of land in Arkavathy Layout, forcing Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa to adjourn Assembly proceedings on Saturday.
The House could not debate grants for 18 departments as it failed to come to a consensus on how the investigation into denotification should be conducted. Denotification refers to the handing over of land acquired for government-initiated projects back to private parties.
As soon as the House assembled for the day, the Opposition, led by Jagadish Shettar, urged the government to show its political conviction by ordering a CBI probe into the multi-crore scandal.
Shettar, a former chief minister, rebutted Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s allegation that he had signed files relating to denotification.
When Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa appealed to members to allow other discussions, BJP members said they would accept nothing less than a CBI probe. The CID is a state organisation, while CBI is a federal agency administered from Delhi.
When Siddaramaiah began to speak, BJP members raised slogans demanding a CBI probe and accusing the Congress of pulling off a huge swindle by denotifying 541 acres.
Siddaramaiah lost his cool and said the BJP had no “moral right” to raise the issue as many of its leaders had gone to jail for denotification irregularities. The uproarious scenes that followed made Thimmappa adjourn the House. When it reassembled, BJP members sat in a dharna.
Shettar said the Opposition had co-operated with the government for 29 days but had taken up the denotification issue because the Congress had accused them of corruption.
“I am ready for any probe. If proved guilty I will quit public life,” Shettar declared.
Siddaramaiah retorted, “I am not scared of any probe either. I have been in this House for 31 years and served as minister several times. I am neither corrupt nor interested in land scams.” He reiterated that the government was ready for a CID, judicial or House committee inquiry.
When the BJP continued to press for a CBI probe, he accused Shettar of taking huge bribes. “You are for a CBI probe because the BJP is in power at the Centre. You want to escape from the clutches of the law,” he alleged, plunging the House into chaos.