The Karnataka government and its ministers are in the news in these days for all the immoral motives. First it was vigorous celebrations of tyrant Tipu Sultan’s state sponsored birthday bash which escalated the communal clashes in Madikeri and several other places in Karnataka. Later, it was the turn of altering the portfolios of few ministers including the Home Ministry position. The previous home minister Mr. K.J. George who was also the district minister of Kodagu and Madikeri was replaced by KPCC (Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee) Chief Mr. G. Parameshwar. All these swift alterations are dubiously allied to the clashes in Madikeri and the catastrophe of the Congress government in the state.
In an “unfortunate” incident, the Karnataka Social Welfare minister H Anjaneya, is in the epicenter of a controversy after a local Kannada news channel did a ‘sting operation’ in the first week of November, that exposed the Minister’s wife Vijayalakshmi allegedly accepting a bribe of 7 Lakh rupees in his official residence near Jayamahal Road, Bangalore.
The news channel claims that the money they paid as a bribe in the sting operation was in favor of passing a tender worth Rs. 7 Crore in a district. This tender pertains to the supplying of the meals for the hostel students in Morarji Desai Residential School run by the Social Welfare department. The channel documented the operation in which one of their reporter was placing the money wrapped in a bundle on the table pointed by the minister’s wife. Though the minister’s wife couldn’t be heard speaking any word, but, the video clearly disclosed the minister’s wife asking these contractors to place the money on the table.
In this first sting video, two reporters from the news channel, disguising as contractors from Mangalore, are seen to be negotiating with the Deputy Director of the Social Welfare department (Hostels), Mr. Prabhakar. After the dialogue ended with him, the Director was negotiating with the disguised reporters to pay out 1.5% of the total tender cost. After all the negotiations, Prabhakar has allegedly agreed for a sum of 7 Lakh rupees and asked these contractors to meet at a certain place the very next day. This place is the official residence of the Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya.
Minister says, it’s a conspiracy:
Unfazed by the controversy, The Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya defended his wife saying, “It is a conspiracy by some unknown people and his wife is innocent”. He also added, “There is no need for me or my wife to take bribe. There is a conspiracy behind this… I have not come to politics to make easy money, but serve the people”.
- H Anjaneya also addressed a press conference later during the evening and said “I am from the oppressed “Dalit community” and it is common for people like us to face such allegations. I have been rendering social service and serving people all my life which you (the reporters in front of him) all have been seeing. I have also ordered to probe the role of the Deputy Director of Social Welfare Department, whether he has any role to play in fixing me and my wife in this sting operation”.
All this led to the suspension of the Deputy Director of the Social Welfare department, Mr. Prabhakar. The Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has given the suspension orders followed by the expose and handed over the case to the State CID.
The opposition leader from the BJP, Mr. Jagadish Shettar addressing a press conference demanded the resignation of the Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya and urged that the case has to be investigated in detail and the truth has to be placed in front of the public. Governor Vajubhai R. Vala has sought reports from the state government on this bribery scam.
Reacting to the demands from the opposition, the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah refused to budge to the demands and said “till the allegations are proved, there is no need to take resignation from the Minister. Opposition is targeting H Anjaneya just because the minister is from the Dalit community”.
Amidst this political gimmicks of the Congress government in Karnataka, we should take a note that this is not the first time that H Anjaneya was named on a corruption charge. Back in June this year, he was named in the scam pertaining to the purchase of beds and pillows to the students of hostels. His Social Welfare Department was allegedly submitting the inflated bills leading to loss of over 14 Crore Rupees to the state exchequer. As usual, CM Siddaramaiah has handed over this to CID to probe the case further. The people in Karnataka are waiting to see the reports submitted from CID. Undeniably, this will be muzzled by the vested interests of the state government.
Meanwhile, the session court in Bangalore has issued an interim stay (at the official request filed by the Minister’s wife asking stay on telecasting those sting videos) on the channel asking not to telecast any news reports or videos of the sting operation till the case has been officially probed. Telecasting an unproven sting operation will not only damage the image of the H Anjaneya and also damages the reputation of the state government. Let the law take its course and let the case be probed, the court added. Since then, News channels in Karnataka are not allowed to telecast any news pertaining to this alleged bribery sting operation.