Congress MLA says audio tape released by his party to frame BJP is ‘fake’

Karnataka Congress spokesman V.S. Ugrappa (in picture) says the audio clip released to the media is genuine.  

In a development that could leave the Congress red-faced, its Karnataka MLA, Shivaram Hebbar, on Monday dismissed an audio clip released by the party to allege that the BJP offered money and ministerial berth to him for cross-voting during the floor test in the Assembly.

The Congress had released three audio tapes in the run-up to the floor test, claiming that the BJP leaders were trying to ‘poach’ on the party MLAs by offering ‘blandishments’ so that the B.S. Yeddyurappa government is saved.

One of the audio tapes released by the party had a conversation allegedly between Mr. Hebbar’s wife and BJP leaders, who allegedly offered money and ministerial post to ''woo him to vote for the BJP.''

In the audio tape in question, Mr. Yeddyurappa’s son B.Y. Vijayendra and his close associate B.J. Puttuswamy purportedly speak to Mr. Hebbar’s wife, offering money and ministerial position to her husband if he cross-voted in favour of the BJP during the floor test.

However, in a Facebook post in Kannada, Mr. Hebbar on Monday questioned the authenticity of the audio clip, saying his wife did not receive any such call.

“This is not my wife’s voice and she has not received any such calls. The audio tape is fake. I condemn it,” he wrote.

State Congress sticks to its stand

Reacting to Mr. Hebbar's statement, State Congress spokesman V.S. Ugrappa demanded that Mr. Vijayendra and Mr. Puttuswamy undergo forensic voice test for their alleged involvement.

“The audio clip released to the media is genuine, not fake. Yes, our legislator is correct when he says, it is not his wife’s voice, but the voices of Vijayendra and Puttuswamy are genuine. If these leaders have guts, they should undergo forensic voice test,” he told reporters in Bengaluru.

The Karnataka polls threw up a hung Assembly, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party, but eight short of majority. Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP to form a government and Mr. Yeddyurappa was sworn in as chief minister.

As the floor test approached, the Congress alleged that the BJP was indulging in horse-trading and released the audio tapes to back their charges.

In the audio tape in question, Mr. Puttuswamy allegedly says that cases against the wife and the son, who are facing a trial in a mining scam, would be cleared.

Speaking to reporters, Congress general secretary B.K. Hari Prasad said, “the Congress believes in truth.”

“We should appreciate the stand of Shivaram Hebbar who calls a spade a spade. He comes out with the truth. He is not like the BJP people. When he [Hebbar] says that [it is a fake audio], we accept that with all humility. Nothing wrong in that.”

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 6:16:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/congress-mla-says-audio-tape-released-by-his-party-to-frame-bjp-is-fake/article23951619.ece

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