Udupi suicide case: CM Siddaramaiah fined, asked to appear before court over 2022 protest against Eshwarappa

News Network
February 6, 2024

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Karnataka High Court on Tuesday, February 6, imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Congress leaders including CM Siddaramaiah over their presence in a protest demanding the resignation and arrest of the then Minister KS Eshwarappa in alleged connection with contractor Santosh Patil's death case in April 2022.

According to reports, Karnataka High Court imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on CM Siddaramaiah, state cabinet ministers MB Patil, Ramalinga Reddy and Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala and asked them to appear physically before the people's representatives' court. 

CM Siddaramaiah has been asked to appear on 6th March, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy on 7th March, Congress Karnataka in-charge RS Surjewala on 11th and heavy industries minister MB Patil on 15th March.

Congress leaders including the present CM participated in a protest on April 2022, demanding KS Eshwarappa's arrest in alleged connection with contractor Santosh Patil's death case.

On April 14, Congress leaders, including D K Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah, were apprehended in Bengaluru while marching toward the residence of Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai. Their protest aimed at pressing for the demand related to the resignation of the then Karnataka Minister K S Eshwarappa.

Earlier, a 37-year-old contractor died by suicide in a lodge in Udupi in 2022. At the time of his death, the contractor left behind a WhatsApp message alleging that Eshwarappa demanded a commission for the release of funds for civil works undertaken by the contractor at Belagavi. 

Last year, Karnataka HC granted an interim stay on the proceedings in the case against CM Siddaramaiah for holding the protest march in 2022.

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February 23,2024

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Bengaluru, Feb 23: The opposition BJP and JD(S) staged a protest against the Congress government in Karnataka over passing of resolutions against Narendra Modi-led administration’s step motherly treatment, which rocked the Legislative Assembly proceedings on Friday, forcing adjournments.

The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the Assembly, meanwhile, at its meeting Chaired by Speaker U T Khader decided to extend the session by a day to Monday, which was otherwise scheduled to conclude today, for passage of the finance bill and Chief Minister’s reply to discussion on the Budget.

The Opposition demanded that the government withdraw the resolutions.

Leader of Opposition R Ashoka even read out a “counter resolution” condemning the resolutions moved and passed by the government on Thursday as “false, imaginary and politically motivated”, and accused the government of blaming the Centre to hide its failures.

As the opposition’s resolution was read without following due procedures and without the consent of the Speaker, it was not considered or put to vote.

The state government had on Thursday moved and ensured passage of resolutions urging the union government to make sure that no injustice is done to the state in allocation of financial resources, and to frame a legislation regarding fixation of MSP for all crops of farmers.

As the House met for the day on Friday, BJP and JD(S) members trooped into the well of the House.

Ashoka said resolutions were brought against the central government all of a sudden and unilaterally, without bringing it to their notice or discussing it at the BAC meeting; it was also not mentioned in the agenda.

“Why did the government bring the resolution in a hush hush manner, despite having a majority in the House? They could have mentioned it in the agenda and introduced the resolution openly as per procedure and we too would have put forward our stand and objections against the resolutions.

Assembly and its rules have been insulted,” he said while demanding that the resolutions be withdrawn.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil, who had moved the resolution on Thursday, defended the government’s action and said the resolution was passed keeping the interest of Karnataka and its people in mind. It was against the injustice meted out to the state and was with facts and figures.

“We had moved the resolution and it was brought by the large number of members of this House. It is the unanimous voice of the people of Karnataka and I condemn the opposition’s objections to this unanimous voice of seven crore people of the state,” he said.

Noting that the government doesn’t need opposition’s consent to bring any resolution in the interest of the people of the state, Patil said resolutions have been moved and passed as per law and there is no question of withdrawing it. “You (opposition) introspect whether you are for Karnataka’s interest or want to do politics.” This elicited a sharp reaction from Ashoka, who asked what Congress MPs from Karnataka were doing in the Parliament, instead of raising the issue there, to which Minister Krishna Byre Gowda retorted by saying that BJP’s 25 MPs in Lok Sabha from the State never raised any issue in the interest of the state. This led to heated arguments between both sides.

Former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the Congress which ruled the country for about 55 years in 75 years of independent India, had kept the devolution of funds to states at 20 per cent for a long time; it took 30 years to raise it to 30 per cent after protests and struggle by several states.

The UPA government for 10 years did not heed to the demand of raising it to 40 per cent, but the Modi government soon after coming to power raised it to 42 per cent.

This led to a strong counter from the Congress side, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for some time.

As the House met again, BJP continued to protest from the well of the House, even as Minister Krinsha Byre Gowda requested them to allow the proceedings to go on normally.

To this, Ashoka said, they will withdraw the protest if the government withdraws the resolution.

The state government wants confrontation with the Centre, he further claimed. “If you (govt) don’t want to withdraw your resolution, the chair should allow us to move a resolution in favour of the central government, and let’s discuss it.” With both sides refusing to budge and BJP-JD(S) continuing to protest from the well of the House, the Speaker tried to transact some business amid sloganeering by opposition members.

Amidst the din, the Speaker allowed tabling of certain reports and passage of two bills without any discussion. Even as the Speaker was putting the bills to vote for its passage, Ashoka read out the opposition’s counter resolution, which was neither considered by the Chair, nor it was put to vote.

As the chaos continued, the Speaker adjourned the House to Monday. 

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February 27,2024

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Bengaluru: An FIR has been registered against the JD(S) leader contesting the Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka, D Kupendra Reddy, and his aides at the Vidhana Soudha police station in Bengaluru, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said on Tuesday.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too confirmed that an FIR has been registered for 'threatening' the Congress MLAs in connection with the Rajya Sabha elections.

“The Congress leaders not only spoke about allurement and threat to their MLAs time and again but also registered an FIR against Kupendra Reddy and his aides,” the JD(S) second-in-command told reporters here.

Kumaraswamy said the complainant MLA did not say that he was lured, but that some other MLAs were 'approached'.

“Melukote MLA Darshan Puttannaiah of Karnataka Sarvodaya Paksha too had said that it’s true that his vote was sought but no one had lured him,” the JD(S) state chief claimed.

Kumaraswamy also said the BJP and JD(S) had decided that the votes of its 19 JD(S) MLAs and the additional BJP votes after its first preferential votes would go to Kupendra Reddy.

Siddaramaiah slammed the Janata Dal (Secular) for allegedly trying to lure Congress legislators to get its candidate Kupendra Reddy elected.

“JDS needs 45 votes (for their candidate) to win. Do they have that many votes? Even though they don’t have enough votes, they still fielded the candidate and are luring our MLAs. Do they have a conscience?” the chief minister asked rhetorically, posting on social media platform X.

“An FIR has been lodged regarding the threat to us. Our three candidates will win. There is no doubt about this,” Siddaramaiah insisted, without elaborating who, the FIR is against and where it has been registered.

Speaking to reporters at Vidhana Soudha here, Siddaramaiah slammed the minor partner in the opposition alliance, saying, “When JD(S) does not have ‘atma’ (soul), how can it have ‘atma sakshi’ (conscience)? They call themselves Janata Dal (Secular) but whom did they join with?”

He was referring to the JD(S) forming an alliance with the BJP.

The chief minister did not rule out the possibility of gaining votes from the rival camp saying the good works of his government may draw votes from the other side.

On the JD(S) allegations that the Congress had approached its party MLAs, Siddaramaiah said when the Congress has sufficient number of MLAs, there is no need to lure legislators from the opposition.

Voting is under way for four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka. The ruling Congress has fielded former union minister and Congress treasurer Ajay Maken and sitting Rajya Sabha members G C Chandrashekhar and Syed Naseer Hussain.

The BJP has fielded Narayansa Bhandage and also JD(S) leader Kupendra Reddy as the NDA candidate.

The Congress has 133 MLAs, excluding the Speaker, while the BJP and JD(S) have 66 and 19 legislators respectively, in the 223-member House. Others account for four. However, one Congress MLA died on Sunday.

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News Network
February 22,2024

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The Manipur High Court has deleted a paragraph from its controversial March 27, 2023 order that directed the state government to send a recommendation on Scheduled Tribe status for the Meitei community.

The order had led to massive ethnic violence in Manipur, with the tribal Kuki community opposing the court's direction.

A bench of Justice Golmei Gaiphulshillu stated that the judgment was passed in a "misconception of law" as the "petitioners failed to assist the court properly at the time of hearing of the said writ petition due to his misconception of fact and law".

Justice Gaiphulshillu noted that the order was contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision in the State of Maharashtra vs Milind & Ors, in which the top court had observed that courts cannot modify, amend or alter the ST list.

"Accordingly, the direction given at Para No. 17(iii) needs to be deleted and is ordered accordingly for deletion," the High Court directed in its judgment delivered on Wednesday.

The now-deleted para in the judgment stated: "The first respondent shall consider the case of the petitioners for inclusion of the Meetei/Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list, expeditiously, preferably within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order in terms of the averments set out in the writ petition and in the line of the order passed in W.P.(C) No. 4281 of 2002 dated 26.05.2003 by the Gauhati High Court."

In October last year, the High Court allowed tribal organisations in Manipur to file an appeal against the March 27 order. Following this, an appeal was moved by All Manipur Tribal Union.

On January 20 this year, the Manipur High Court admitted a review petition seeking to modify its March 27 order and issued notices to the Centre and the state government, seeking their response.

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