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Alleged land scams rock Karnataka politics

Source: PTI
October 03, 2010 20:34 IST
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Alleged land scandals rocked the Karnataka politics on Sunday with Congress raising the pitch seeking the Bharatiya Janata Party government's dismissal and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa convening a legislature session to discuss the issue.

The Minister under the scanner, Katta Subramanya Naidu, insisted that his hands were clean and said there was no question of resignation.

The Congress took a delegation to Governor H R Bhardwaj seeking the dismissal of the government charging Yeddyurappa and Naidu, the Minister for Information Technology, Biotechnology and Housing, with direct involvement in alleged land scams.

"We have submitted a 103-page memorandum to the Governor and also many documents," Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Siddaramaiah told reporters.

"It's a clear case of nepotism, favouritism and misuse of power. We have requested the Governor to dismiss the government. We have told the Governor that the Chief Minister is involved; a Minister (Naidu) is involved," he said.

The Congress and the JDS have over the past week accused Yeddyurappa of denotifying certain land for his family members' benefit, while Naidu is facing allegations of irregularities in payment of compensation for lands acquired by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board when he was Industries Minister in the JDS-BJP coalition government.

Naidu's son Katta Jagadish, a city councillor, was arrested last week for allegedly bribing a witness connected to the investigation by Lokayukta into the alleged KIADB compensation scam, and is currently lodged in a jail.

Addressing a press conference, Naidu denied any wrongdoing and ruled out his resignation, saying he has the backing of the Chief Minister and the ruling BJP.

Naidu alleged a "conspiracy" by elements "jealous" of his political growth, and said he was being targeted as he belongs to a backward caste whose numbers are small in the state.

Asked if he would resign, he said: "No question of resigning. I did not commit any mistake. Chief Minister has no objections of my continuing. I will continue as minister."

Naidu distanced himself and his family from Itaska Software Company, which the opposition has accused of being their "benami" firm, saying they had nothing to do with it.

With Congress and JDS gunning for his government, Yeddyurappa decided to convene a special three-day session of the state legislature to discuss alleged scams that took place in the last ten years.

He said he would not respond to any of the allegations levelled by the opposition till the beginning of the session proposed in November first week, when he would reply to all the charges.

"In recent days, Congress and JDS leaders have levelled baseless allegations against our Government," Yeddyurappa said, adding the session would have detailed discussions on "illegal scandals that is said to have happened in the ten years".

In the special session, the opposition is free to bring up any issue, while the government would come out with its own, he said.

Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde on Saturday said investigations had revealed that of the 325 acres acquired by KIADB for Itaska in Bangalore North taluk, a portion belonged to Soubhagya, Subramanya Naidu's wife.

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