BJP’s ‘washing machine at full spin’ in Karnataka: Congress


PTI, Apr 20, 2024, 6:57 PM IST

Jairam Ramesh (Source: PTI / File)

New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday said the BJP’s “washing machine is at full spin” in Karnataka, alleging that its Bengaluru North candidate is currently under ED investigation for a money laundering case but the trial has made no “discernible progress”.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh attacked the BJP ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Bengaluru.

“Today’s questions for the PM as he heads to Bengaluru: Where are the grants awarded to Bengaluru by the 15th Finance Commission? Why are BJP leaders misbehaving with financial fraud victims? Is the BJP Washing Machine hard at work for Shobha Karandlaje?” he said in a post on X.

Elaborating further on what he said were “jumla details”, Ramesh claimed that Bengaluru’s Peripheral Ring Road project and lake improvement efforts have been seriously hampered by the Modi government’s failure to release funds earmarked for these projects.

“The final report of the 15th Finance Commission had recommended state-specific grants worth 6,000 crores to Karnataka for ‘holistic improvement of water bodies and for peripheral ring roads’ in Bengaluru,” he said.

While the Centre’s explanatory memorandum stated that “consideration will be given to the recommendation on specific grants”, no funds have been released so far, he alleged.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has even written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman regarding the issue but to no avail, he said.

“In his letter, the CM had highlighted that ‘this has been a major setback to the state’s fiscal position, which is already strained due to a severe cut in tax devolution’. Why is Bengaluru facing such deep neglect from PM Modi?” Ramesh said.

Why has the Modi government failed to release the grants despite the 15th Finance Commission’s recommendation, he asked.

He further alleged that in 2020, a 2,500 crore scam was unearthed at the Shri Guru Raghavendra Cooperative Bank in Bengaluru.

“About 10,000 depositors are yet to receive their principal deposit, amounting to Rs. 1700 crores of the total Rs. 2500 crores,” Ramesh said.

On April 17 2023, before the assembly elections in 2023, the Bangalore South MP and his uncle, the Basavanagudi MLA, had assured depositors that they would bring fresh investors to recover the remaining 1700 crores, he said, adding that after the elections, they disappeared.

“Those seeking help were not even allowed near BJP offices. Last week, on April 13, 2024, the victims attended a public meeting on cooperative banks to voice their grievances and were allegedly assaulted by aides of Surya and Subramanya,” he alleged.

The BJP leaders were eventually driven out of the meeting by disgruntled depositors, who have once again been left in the dark, he said.

“In the aftermath, instead of apologising to depositors, the Bengaluru South MP has brazenly dismissed the investor’s grievances. The BJP has shown once again that any dissent will be violently suppressed, and covered in a web of lies to avoid accountability,” Ramesh alleged.

Is PM Modi’s “silence” on this rowdy behaviour of his MP and MLA a tacit endorsement, he asked.

“Why has the PM not intervened to deliver justice to the investors hurt by this fraud?” Ramesh said.

“The BJP’s washing machine is at full spin in Karnataka. Professor Rajeev Gowda has revealed that a sitting Union Minister – now the BJP candidate for Bengaluru North – is currently under ED investigation for a money laundering case that involves Rs. 105 crores in kickbacks,” he said.

“The trial has been on since 2014 – when the PM took office – with no discernible progress. Is this another instance of the #BJPWashingMachine slowing down or exempting BJP leaders from corruption investigations?” Ramesh said.

Why did the prime minister take in a leader under investigation for corruption into his Cabinet, he asked.

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