Karnataka BJP accuses Siddaramaiah of misusing police to target political opponents

Bengaluru: The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday submitted a memorandum to the Karnataka governor accusing the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government of misusing the police to illegally tap the phones of political opponents and register false cases in “wrongful cases”.

The allegation comes days after the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) registered a first information report (FIR) against former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa in an illegal land denotification case.

Ananth Kumar, Jagadish Shettar, K.S. Eshwarappa and other senior leaders of the BJP submitted the memorandum to Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala on Monday.

“This is a shocking misuse of ACB by the chief minister, who is incidentally heading the ACB,” the memorandum stated while requesting an intervention from the governor’s office and a high-level probe into the allegations.

The BJP has sought the removal of Kempaiah, a retired police officer currently serving as advisor to the home department and suspension of ACB chief M.N. Reddi, investigating officer Dy SP Balraj and two other senior officials.

Later, Yeddyurappa on Monday filed a petition in the Karnataka high court seeking a stay on investigations in the land denotification case and any pursuant action taken against him since the filing of the complaint by the ACB.

Ironically, the Congress at the centre has alleged that the BJP-led union government has been misusing investigating agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department and Central Bureau of Investigations to target political opponents.

On Thursday, a day before the BJP was to initiate a weeklong agitation for the removal of allegedly tainted ministers like energy minister D.K. Shivakumar, the ACB registered an FIR based on a private complaint. The FIR states that former chief minister Yeddyurappa’s decision to denotify land meant to be converted as layouts in Bengaluru during his tenure from 2008-11, had caused a notional loss of around Rs3,800 crore to the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA).

Yeddyurappa and Siddaramaiah have been trading charges of corruption in their state-wide tours in the run-up to next year’s assembly elections in Karnataka. Yeddyurappa, who has been named in other corruption cases including illegal mining, has been named the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate while the Congress has declared that the party will continue to fight the polls under Siddaramaiah’s leadership.