Hitting back at the JD-S for its offensive against it, the BJP government in Karnataka today decided to order a CID inquiry into alleged corruption in the implementation of Upper Krishna Project during the tenure of H D Deve Gowda as Chief Minister during the 1990s.

The cabinet decision comes in the midst of Opposition JDS’ aggressive campaign to put the BJP government in the dock on the alleged land scams that has dominated the State political scene in recent weeks, triggering a no-holds barred attack against each other by the two parties.

Mr. Yeddyurappa, who nearly lost his position after the JD-S levelled a series of corruption and nepotism against him, was under pressure to quit, but managed to earn a reprieve from the BJP top leadership.

Enraged at the JD-S’ sustained campaign against him, Mr. Yeddyurappa had vowed ‘not to rest’ till he exposed the ’misdeeds’ of Deve Gowda family, including former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy and decimated the JD-S.

Briefing reporters, Higher Education Minister V S Acharya said there were complaints of large-scale irregularities and corruption in implementing the irrigation project from 1994-95 to 1996-97 - when Mr. Deve Gowda was in power before he became the Prime Minister.

There were lot of irregularities in the award of ’piece works’ and there were 8-9 complaints in implementation of the project by the State-run Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigama, he said.

Asked about magnitude of irregularities and corruption in the project during the period, he said, “It’s in the region of Rs 85 crore to Rs 90 crore.”

Mr. Acharya said a legislature committee headed by then Janata Dal MLA, Vyjanath Patil committee had also conducted an inquiry into the complaints (some years ago). The Karnataka High Court had issued notice to Chief Secretary S V Ranganath earlier this year on a petition filed by one Somashekara Reddy on the project’s irregularities issue.

Vyjanath Committee had then recommended a CBI probe, but late J H Patel, who succeeded Mr. Gowda, rejected it.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said last week that his government would expose alleged scams involving the former Prime Minister and his family in the coming days.

The JD-S today welcomed the probe ordered by the government.

JDS Spokesman Y S V Datta said, “At least let this inquiry bring out the truth and bring the curtains down on the baseless allegations levelled against Mr. Gowda.”