In a dramatic turn of events amidst the political turmoil in Karnataka, Congress MLA and former Minister R. Roshan Baig was detained by SIT officials at the Kempegowda International Airport while he was trying to leave the city in a chartered flight late on Monday night. This was hours after he was served a notice in the IMA scam and asked to appear before SIT before July 19.
Confirming the development and lending it a political turn, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy slammed the Opposition BJP for allegedly facilitating Mr. Baig’s attempt to leave the city.
In the second tweet, he alleged that BJP leader C.P. Yogeshwar was also present at the time. “It is a shame that BJP is helping a former Minister, who is facing a probe in the IMA case, escape. This clearly shows the BJP’s direct involvement in destabilising the government through horse-trading,” he said.
The BJP shot back, saying Mr. Kumaraswamy was “using the State machinery to save his government.” The BJP Karnataka’s Twitter handle said: “Mr. Roshan Baig was given time till 19th July to appear before SIT. This shows how the State govt is blackmailing and treating their own MLAs using the institutions.” The party also claimed that Mr. Santosh was not travelling with him and the Chief Minister was “peddling fake news”.
Mr. Baig is one of the 16 rebel MLAs who has resigned from the Assembly, threatening the survival of the government.
The Shivajinagar MLA is the first politician to be detained by the SIT in the IMA scam.
Roshan Baig’s name cropped up the day IMA managing director Mohammed Mansoor Khan, who is on the run, released an audio message and accused Mr. Baig of not returning ₹400 crore he had taken from him.
SIT officials issued a second notice to Baig earlier on Monday to appear before them for questioning. Assuring to cooperate with the investigations, Mr. Baig had said he would appear before SIT on July 25, but his request was rejected by SIT and he was asked to come for questioning on July 19.
As Mr. Baig was trying to flee the city, SIT officials, based on a tip-off, picked him at the airport.
“He was about to take off in a private chartered aircraft to an unconfirmed destination. It will be verified whether his sudden plan to leave Bengaluru has anything to do with Monday’s release of video by Mansoor Khan,” a senior officer said.
I will return: Khan
Mr. Mansoor Khan, in his video, claimed that he would return to Benglauru “within 24 hours”.
Mansoor Khan has claimed that he has been trying to return to the city over the last few days, but has been unable to do so as he is suffering from cardiac issues. “I have a cardiac problem and I am under treatment and bed ridden for the past one month. In addition to this, I am suffering from diabetes too,” he said in the video.
In the seven-minute video, he has said that he will “return all investments” by selling out his properties. Apologising for his “hasty” decision to flee the country, Mansoor Khan said, “I don’t know where my family is. I am not able to contact them. There is no source of communication about them. I trust the Indian judiciary. I will come to India within 24 hours, I listed out all my properties so that everything could be recovered and given to investors. The bribe given to officers and politicians can also be recovered with the help of judiciary and given to investors.”
However, the SIT officials said Mansoor Khan cannot return on his own as his passport has been suspended. “He is trying to gain sympathy citing health issues and assuring investors. If he was so concerned, he should not have fled the country and cooperated with the investigation,” a police officer said.