Can rules be changed in favour of Shivakumar, ask BJP leaders

R. Ashok

R. Ashok   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

Attempts to lend a ‘casteist colour’ to Enforcement Directorate probe criticised

Hours after the rally in Bengaluru by Vokkaligas in support of arrested Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar, two BJP Ministers from the same community criticised attempts to lend a “casteist colour” to the Enforcement Directorate’s investigation.

Revenue Minister R. Ashok sought to know if it was possible to change rules for the leader who is under the ED scrutiny. “We have seen people protest for clean environment, good roads and other civic issues but not in favour of someone who has been arrested in connection with illegal money transactions. It is shameful that the Congress is giving this a caste tilt,” he said. Interestingly, he steered clear of criticising the Janata Dal (Secular) which also supported the arrested leader.

On seer’s participation

On some Vokkaliga community seers also participating in the demonstration, Mr. Ashok said, “It is left to the discretion of the individuals who supported and participated in the protest. But in my opinion, it is not fair to do so.”

Arguing that neither the BJP nor the Union government had anything to do with the arrest, he said, “Is it possible to change rules for Mr. Shivakumar? Even our leaders, including B.S. Yediyurappa and G. Janardhana Reddy, had been jailed. At that time no rules were changed. Investigating agencies are doing their work under the Constitution and if he [Mr. Shivakumar] is not found guilty, the court will let him free,” he said.

Minister for Tourism C.T. Ravi also took exception to the demonstration by Vokkaligas. He said the community should idolise people of the calibre of Shantaveri Gopala Gowda, Kengal Hanumanthaiya, and Kuvempu instead.

He told reporters in Mysuru on Wednesday that the community had produced leaders and poets who have earned respect from people. “Now, it is up to the Vokkaliga community leadership to decide whom they should idolise,” said Mr. Ravi, who also belongs to the community.

Indirectly referring to Mr. Shivakumar, Mr. Ravi said people in public life were duty bound to give a reply when several crores of rupees are found in their homes.

Claiming that the law does not provide for people to keep more than ₹2 lakh in cash at home, he questioned the mindset of the protesters who were raising questions on the ED probe into money laundering by Mr. Shivakumar.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 8:25:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/can-rules-be-changed-in-favour-of-shivakumar-ask-bjp-leaders/article29395727.ece

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