Following the arrest of BJP MLA’s son and government officer Prashanth Madal and the seizure of about ₹8 crore from his office and residence by the Karnataka Lokayukta, the Opposition Congress on Saturday held a massive protest in Bengaluru seeking the resignation of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
The arrested officer’s father, Madal Virupakshappa, MLA representing Channagiri constituency in Davangere district of the State, on Friday resigned from the post of the chairman of Karnataka Soaps and Detergent Ltd (KSDL) but maintained that he had been “framed” on baseless charges as part of a conspiracy against him.
Detained by police
The party workers led by Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah, AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar, and MLAs Priyank Kharge and Krishna Byre Gowda, took out a march to lay siege to the Chief Minister’s residence. They were detained on the way by the police, who were deployed in large numbers.
Before the protest march, Mr. Siddaramaiah hit out at the ruling BJP at a public meeting and said, “It is not enough that you arrested Prashanth Madal. You should arrest Madal Virupakshappa immediately.” He further said, “The BJP government is plundering the State. The Chief Minister, Ministers, and the chairmen of various boards and corporations have been directed to collect a definite amount. The BJP is set to spend ₹100 crore in each constituency.”
He criticised Union Home Minister Amit Shah for calling the previous Congress government led by him “an ATM” for national Congress leaders. “Now, Mr. Shah, what will you say about this? You make allegations without any evidence, but here we have proof,” the former Chief Minister said.
‘Lokayukta has free hand’
Responding to this in Chitradurga, the Chief Minister said the State government was quite clear in that the case would be probed thoroughly and impartially, irrespective of who was involved. The Lokayukta had a free hand to probe, he said. He pooh-poohed the demand for his resignation and asked whether Mr. Siddaramaiah, the then Chief Minister, had resigned after a bribe of ₹2 lakh was accepted in a Minister’s office in the Vidhana Soudha.