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'Investigate Operation Lotus': Siddaramaiah attacks BJP after probe on phone tapping

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Aug 19, 2019, 9:49 am IST
Updated : Aug 19, 2019, 9:49 am IST

Kumaraswamy also alleged that he was being targeted by regional electronic media channels.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah slammed the Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's decision to order a CBI investigation into the allegations of phone-tapping. (Photo: File)
 Congress leader Siddaramaiah slammed the Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's decision to order a CBI investigation into the allegations of phone-tapping. (Photo: File)

Bengaluru: Congress leader Siddaramaiah slammed the Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's decision to order a CBI investigation into the allegations of phone-tapping saying that the government should also order an investigation into the alleged "Operation Lotus" that the JD(S)-Congress coalition claims pulled down its government.

Siddaramaiah on Sunday tweeted: "I welcome the decision of @BSYBJP to hand over the phone tapping case to CBI. But, in the past, @BJP4India has used CBI as its puppet to unleash its venomous political vendetta. Hope @BJP4Karnataka leaders does not have similar intentions this time."

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa ordered a CBI investigation into the allegations of phone-tapping during the coalition government of the Congress and H D Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal (Secular) on Sunday.

"On the telephone tapping issue. Several leaders, including Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, have said it should be probed and truth should come out, so I have decided to order a CBI probe. Tomorrow itself I will order the probe," Yediyurappa told reporters.

He also said it was the expectation of the people of the state that a detailed inquiry should be made and the culprits punished.

Yediyurappa's announcement comes amid signs that the scandal is gaining political steam ever since disqualified JDS MLA A H Vishwanath, who served as the JD(S) state president and turned rebel later, last week dropped the political bomb, accusing the H D Kumarswamy government of tapping phones and spying on more than 300 leaders, including him.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Sunday said he was ready to face any investigation into the alleged phone tapping case which will now be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

'I am ready to face any investigation into the telephone taping issue. Let there be an international-level enquiry on phone taping charges against me," Kumaraswamy told reporters in Belthangady town here.

Kumaraswamy also alleged that he was being targeted by regional electronic media channels.

Earlier, Kumaraswamy on his part has denied the allegations. "There was no need for me to remain in and save the chair (of CM) by tapping phones. Allegations made against me by some people in this matter is far from truth," he had tweeted.

Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah, M Mallikarjuna Kharge and home minister in the alliance government M B Patil, have sought a probe while another key party leader and former minister D K Shivakumar has rejected the snooping charges and appeared to side with Kumaraswamy.

Several BJP leaders, including former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, have directly accused Kumaraswamy of being behind the episode to save his government which was then rocked by dissidence within.

According to reports, phones of those close to Siddaramaiah, who was the then coalition coordination committee chief, had come under the watch of the government.

Vishwanath had also claimed snooping would not have happened without the knowledge of the then Chief Minister as the intelligence wing was under his control.

The coalition government ultimately collapsed last month with the chief minister losing the trust vote in the assembly.

The controversy surfaced as Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao earlier this month ordered an inquiry into phone tapping incident against the backdrop of a recently leaked telephone conversation purportedly between him and someone in Delhi lobbying on his behalf with some politicians for the post he is occupying now.

Tags: siddaramaiah, yediyurappa, bjp, phone tapping, kumaraswamy
Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru