Congress spokesman, media coordinator link party unit chief to scam in video; punished
The Congress in Karnataka on Wednesday found itself in a tight spot after a video showed a purported conversation between the party media coordinator M A Saleem and former Lok Sabha member V S Ugrappa attributing the Congress State president D K Shivakumar's involvement in a scam when he was a Minister.
Taking strong exception to the clipping that went viral, Shivakumar said he cannot deny that the conversation did not take place and rejected the content of the conversation. Acting swiftly, the party expelled Saleem from the party for six years and served a show-cause notice to Ugrappa, who is Congress spokesperson, seeking an explanation in three days.
The conversation is said to be related to the scams in the Irrigation Department allegedly involved in by Shivakumar when he was Irrigation Minister in the coalition government of Congress- JD(S), which ran for 14 months and collapsed in June 2019.
However, Ugrappa clarified Saleem was only briefing him what the BJP people have been talking about the raids carried out by the Income Tax (I-T) Department since October 7 against three major contractors executing irrigation and highway project on 47 premises in four States, including Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The search and seizure by the I-T officials have resulted in detection of undisclosed income of about Rs 750 crore, the I-T Department said in a statement on Tuesday.
''Earlier, it was eight per cent. He increased it to 12 per cent. These are all adjustments by DKS,'' Saleem is heard saying in the purported video.
''It's (Irrigation) a big scandal. If dug properly, his (D K Shivakumar) role will also come out. You don't know, sir, the three made Rs 50-100 crore. If they had made so much (of wealth), then guess how much he (Shivakumar) would have made. He is a collection 'giraaki' (extortionist),'' Saleem is heard saying.
In reply, Ugrappa said he did not know those things.
''I don't know this. We all made a point to make him (Shivakumar) State president. That's why I am not saying anything. These are the reasons...,'' Ugrappa is heard saying.
Saleem also wondered whether Shivakumar drinks and even gets emotional these days.
He said he has no connection with the content of the conversation.
''I am unrelated to what they have spoken. I was never part of any 'percentage' (share in contracts) and I don't need it. I have no connection with it (share in contracts),'' Shivakumar said.
Ugrappa said Saleem was briefing him about what the BJP leaders were talking outside. However, the place chosen by him was wrong and he could have spoken in private and not before the media, he clarified.
Also, it has come at a time when the party has geared up for the Assembly elections, which is y one-and-a-half years away.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)