Home >> States

Karnataka election: Rahul Gandhi slams PM Modi over BJP leader bribery sting

With voting just a day away, the BJP and Congress' high-voltage campaign for the Karnataka Assembly election 2018 has ended. The campaigning in the run-up to the crucial polls saw everything from a cross-fire of barbs to a voter ID row.

On the last day, Congress President Rahul Gandhi slammed the Modi government for issues ranging from atrocities against Dalits to the country's foreign policy as he expressed confidence in winning the Karnataka polls "hands down".

On Saturday, voters in the state will decide who got it right.

Of course, the end of the official election campaign at 5 pm on Thursday did not mean that the allegations and accusations also stopped. Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over allegations that BJP leader B Sriramulu had bribed former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan.

The accusation is based on a "sting" video showing the state BJP leader allegedly trying to bribe a kin of the former Chief Justice of India to get a favourable verdict for mining baron G Janardhana Reddy in an illegal mining case. State electoral authorities on Thursday directed TV news channels not to air the video.

Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked Modi, alleging that BJP's B Sriramulu had bribed former CJI Balakrishnan, seeking an order favouring a mining company owned by G Janardhan Reddy. Levelling the charge, the Congress party also demanded a high-level inquiry into the matter.

"This is how Modi and Yeddy (B S Yeddyurappa) are getting 'Reddy' to loot Karnataka. Fortunately, the people of Karnataka will not let that happen," tweeted Gandhi as he attached a National Herald news report with a headline "Sting videos: Congress alleges BJP's B. Sriramulu involved in bribing then CJI in 2010".

The news report said: "Alleging that then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishna gave a favourable order to a mining company owned by G Janardhan Reddy a day before the CJI retired in 2010, Karnataka Congress claimed on Thursday that Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) had been paid by Reddy for the order."

"Just one day before CJI Balakrishnan retired, he passed an order in a case related to Reddy brothers mining company," Karnataka Congress tweeted quoting state's working President Dinesh Gundu Rao. "Now, several videos have been released which show how bribe deals were done between CJI's son-in-law and Sriramulu/Reddy brothers," Karnataka Congress tweeted Rao's statement at a press conference.

The party alleged that just one day before the then CJI retired, he passed an order in a case related to Reddy brothers' Oblapuram Mining Company. It said that the videos that surfaced showed how Sriramulu, middlemen, and the son-in-law of the former CJI discussed bribe deals, hoping to get a favourable judgment from the Supreme Court in the Obalipuram case.

TV news channels were on Thursday directed by state electoral authorities not to air the "sting" video showing BJP's Sriramulu allegedly trying to bribe a kin of former CJI Balakrishnan for a favourable verdict for mining baron G Janardhana Reddy. The direction came hours after State Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy called what the Congress described as an 'explosive press conference' and released the video clippings which were in circulation on social media.

Sriramulu is a confidant of tainted mining baron and owner of Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) Janardhana Reddy, according to news agencies. He is contesting from two constituencies -- Molakalmuru and Badami -- in the May 12 Karnataka Assembly polls. In Badami, he is pitted against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The election in 223 of the 224 constituencies in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly will be held on May 12, and the counting of votes and announcement of the result will take place on May 15. The election for one constituency has been postponed following the death of B N Vijay Kumar, the Jayanagar BJP candidate.