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Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy shakes hands with BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa during a meeting on the recent developments pertaining to the Cauvery issue, at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (PTI Photo) (PTI6_30_2018_000094B)

SIT to probe audio-clip at centre of Karnataka poaching row

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The speaker of the Karnataka legislative assembly K R Ramesh Kumar on Monday asked the state government to order an SIT probe into an audio recording where a purported BJP MLA refers to a payment of Rs 50 crore as bribe to the Speaker to facilitate poaching of MLAs from the ruling Congress-JDS coalition.

The Speaker made the suggestion to the government after initially suggesting that it would not be appropriate for him to continue as speaker in the light of the allegations that emerged in audio recordings released by Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

“The SIT should provide a report in 15 days to clear the air,” the Speaker said. On February 8, Kumaraswamy released two audio clips of an attempt made by BJP leaders to induce a JDS MLA Naganagouda Kandakur to join the BJP. One clip featured a conversation between the JDS MLA’s son Sharanagouda Kandakur, BJP state chief B S Yeddyurappa and a man identified by Kumaraswamy as the BJP MLA from Devadurga Shivanagouda Nayak.

A second clip featured a conversation between Nayak and the JDS MLA’s son where the man purported to be Nayak is heard saying the BJP would manage all concerns of the JDS legislator including the Speaker and judges.

After releasing the audio recordings, CM Kumaraswamy also wrote to the Speaker indicating that his office had been brought into disrepute in the recordings.

The audio recording reveals an “intent to induce and the amount is Rs 50 crore”, the Speaker said. “Identification and authentication of the person who is speaking is not done. I cannot continue because the allegation made is against me alone,” the Speaker said as the house convened on Monday morning.

Congress legislator Krishna Byregowda argued that the matter involved a breach of privilege and contempt of the entire house and not just the Speaker.

The BJP’s J C Madhuswamy argued that the house should not take the matter too seriously since events occurred outside the house.

Speaker Ramesh Kumar admitted that he was confident that it was not BJP leader Yeddyurappa who made statements about him but an MLA who has to be identified.

CM Kumaraswamy agreed to implement the Speaker’s suggestion for an SIT probe into the audio recording.

Source: Indian Express

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