Bharatiya Janata Party MLA for Channagiri Madal Virupakshappa has been named as the prime accused in the bribe-trap case involving his son, who was arrested after being caught red-handed accepting a bribe of ₹40 lakh allegedly on behalf of his father on Thursday. The MLA, his son, and four others have been booked under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Nudged by CM
Mr. Virupakshappa resigned as chairman of Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Ltd. (KSDL) on Friday, reportedly after being directed to do so by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. Being the prime accused in the case, the MLA now faces the threat of arrest. Holed up in an undisclosed location, he is exploring his legal options, sources said.
The Lokayukta police said they would take stock of the recoveries made during the raids on the MLA’s son Prashanth Madal and serve a notice to Mr. Virupakshappa to present himself for questioning. “We will take a call on his arrest soon,” a senior officer said.
Complainant is contractor
The complainant is a contractor seeking to secure a contract to supply raw materials for the KSDL, which makes the renowned Mysore Sandal Soap.
Mr. Prashanth Madal, Chief Accounts Officer of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, was caught taking a bribe on behalf of Mr. Virupakshappa at the latter’s office on Crescent Road. The Lokayukta police raided Mr. Prashanth Madal’s residence at Dollars Colony until Friday afternoon and recovered ₹6.1 crore from there and ₹1.62 crore from the MLA’s office, taking the total recovery to ₹7.72 crore. This is apart from the ₹40 lakh bribe that the complainant was giving to him during the trap.
The police have arrested five persons — Mr. Prashanth Madal, his relative Siddesh, his accountant Surendra, and two other alleged bribe givers in unconnected cases, Nicholas and Gangadhar, who were present at the MLA’s office during the raid. The five were produced before the Lokayukta Special Court and remanded into 14-day judicial custody. “We have recovered a large cache of documents as well. After taking stock of all the recoveries made, we will seek their police custody, probably on Monday,” said a senior Lokayukta police official.
Lokayukta appeals to people to come forward with complaints
Lokayukta B.S. Patil appealed to the public to approach the anti-corruption authority with complaints of corruption, alluding to a rejuvenated Karnataka Lokayukta following the abolition of the Anti-Corruption Bureau and restoration of powers to carry out probes under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, back to the Lokayukta police.
This is the first high-profile raid involving a people’s representative in almost a decade now.
“In this case, we have arrested two bribe givers who were at the MLA’s office during the raid. Giving a bribe is also a crime. I appeal to the public to trust the Lokayukta and approach us with complaints. We will take impartial and swift action,” he told media persons on Friday.