Siddaramaiah charges Karnataka CM  of presenting wrong info to hide BJP’s corruption

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Bengaluru: Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday accused Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai of using the Justice H S Kempanna Commission’s report to give wrong information in the Assembly regarding the Arkavathy Layout denotification.

The Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly said the Chief Minister was acting with an intention to “hide” the corruption charges against the BJP government.

He was reacting to Bommai, who on Thursday in the Assembly, reading out the excerpts from the Justice Kempanna Commission’s report which is not in public, had accused the previous Congress government of “redo” or denotifiation of Arkavathy Layout land.

“When I was not present in the Assembly, Bommai shouted and created an impression that there was a big scam worth Rs 8,000 crore. The Kempanna Commission has said that I did not denotify even one gunta of land. Bommai is speaking plain lies,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here. One gunta is equal to 1,089 square feet.

He noted that Arkavathy Layout was formed in 2003, and before his government came to power, 2,750 acres were notified.

“Later, final notification was done for 1,919.13 acres. This was challenged in High Court and went to the Supreme Court, which fixed some parameters and teams were formed to delete some lands when B S Yediyurappa was the chief minister,” Siddaramaiah added.

The file next went to Jagadish Shettar who subsequently became the Chief Minister, but by then the model code of conduct for the election was in place, so it was sent back, he said.

“When our (Congress) government came, there was a petition in the High Court because of which there was some pressure.”

“As our officers had stated that everything was done as per the Supreme Court’s parameters. I approved it. It was not a redo, but a remodified scheme,” Siddaramaiah further said.

Subsequently as Shettar, who was then Leader of Opposition, and others alleged that there was a scam, he had formed a judicial commission for an inquiry, the Congress leader contended.

Pointing out that in September 2021, the HC constituted another committee under retired Justice K N Keshavanarayana, Siddaramaiah said: “Hearing a PIL that sought for tabling of the Justice Kempanna Commission’s report, the High Court had said it can’t be considered in view of the Keshavanarayana committee that’s functioning. Hence, it was wrong to speak on a report that was not tabled.”

With the ruling BJP accusing him of weakening the Lokayukta by forming the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Siddaramaiah also sought to defend his government’s decision to constitute the new state agency.

“Gujarat, Goa, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and 12 other states have Lokayukta and ACB. Why isn’t the BJP abolishing ACB in these states?” he asked.

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( With inputs from )

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