Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa on Monday referred a complaint by Congress MLA Ramesh Kumar against Samaja Parivarthana Samudaya President and social activist S. R. Hiremath to the Privileges Committee to decide whether such remarks amounted to breaching the privileges granted to him as a legislator.

The speaker asked the committee to complete the inquiry at the earliest.

Accusing Mr. Kumar of indulging in land grabbing, Mr. Hiremath had maintained that inducting Mr. Kumar and two certain other MLAs into the ministry would amount to betraying people’s trust as the Congress had come to power by promising corruption-free governance.

Taking serious exception to this, Mr. Kumar brought the episode into speaker’s attention. “Mr. Hiremath has termed me as a tainted person and called for a social boycott against me,” he alleged.

“Who is Mr. Hiremath to give me a character certificate?” he wondered while maintaining that such an authority to decide who is not fit for inclusion into the ministry and who is tainted should be made by the Chief Minister, Governor, Courts or Election Commission.

Claiming that such charges by Mr. Hiremath had put him in an embarrassing situation, he said, “How do I show my face to my friends and people now? More than anything else, how do I live now with such allegations,” he wondered and appealed to the speaker to refer the issue to the privileges committee.

Pointing out that Mr. Hiremath may be having some documents against him, Mr. Kumar said the privileges committee should conduct an inquiry expeditiously and come to a conclusion.

“If the committee decides that I am a tainted personality as alleged by Mr. Hiremath, then I will not show my face to the speaker again,” Mr. Kumar said.

The speaker asked the opinion of Law Minister T. B. Jayachandra who recommended that the issue should be referred to the Privileges Committee. Following this, the speaker referred the matter to Privileges Committee for an expeditious inquiry.

It may be noted that earlier Mr. Hiremath’s alleged revelations about the then minister Santosh Lad’s partnership firm indulging in illegal mining had resulted in the minister resigning to the post.

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