Congress party has demanded an enquiry into the expose of Rs 1,810 crore Karnataka former Chief Minister and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa paid allegedly to the party central leadership and several party leaders to become the Chief Minister of Karnataka by Caravan magazine.
The Congress lost no time to use the expose of 'Caravan' magazine and said that it is a fit case to be probed by the newly appointed Lok Pal, the first major case to be looked into.
According to the expose, the money was paid around a decade ago by Yeddyurappa and the payments were noted in a diary which has been in custody of the Income Tax department since 2017.
Two pages of the diary put out show details of the payments. BJP's central kitty received Rs 1,000 crore, Arun Jaitley (Rs 150 cr), Union, Nitin Gadkari (Rs.150cr+ Rs 10cr for his son’s wedding) Rajnath Singh (Rs 100 cr). Senior leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were also paid Rs 50 crore each. There is mention of money paid to judges and advocates too.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “It (the diary) mentions names of senior BJP leaders from Rajnath Singh to Arun Jaitley. There is an allegation of bribe of Rs 1,800 crore on the top BJP leadership.”
‘Yeddy diaries’ says Yeddyurappa made payouts to senior BJP leaders during his tenure as Karnataka Chief Minister.
According to the Caravan report, the Income Tax department has been in possession of copies of the diary entries by Yeddyurappa in his own handwriting. They were made in Kannada in a Karnataka State Assembly legislator's diary of 2009 diary with Yeddyurappa’s signature at the end of each page.
It was a dramatic moment for the Congress to come out with a press conference. While it was announced that Congress president Rahul Gandhi would hold an important press conference early in the day, it was put off to afternoon. However, it was addressed in the afternoon by Surjewala who asked if Prime Minister Narendra Modi, referred to as “chor chowkidar (watchman who is thief) is ready to probe or admit his crime”.
He demanded a probe into the allegation by the newly appointed Lokpal. Surjewala said, “Prima facie, it is a fit case for the Lokpal to initiate a probe as it involves the leaders who have run the government over the last five years.”
Surjewala said, “The diary with BS Yeddyurappa’s sign on it was with the Income Tax Department since 2017. If that is the case, why did Modiji and the BJP not get it investigated?”
Incidentally, Congress raised the issue in 2017 with a video showing conversation between Yeddyurappa and the then Union Minister late Ananth Kumar. But this was dismissed by the BJP then claiming it to be fabricated.
Surjewala pointed out that the two leaders talked about the money being paid to the top leadership of the BJP.