BENGALURU: A Karnataka minister is in the centre of a controversy after a ‘sting operation’ by a TV channel on Thursday showed his wife allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 7 lakh.
The video aired by a channel showed a man keeping currency notes on a table before Minister for Social Welfare Anjaneya’s wife in the minister’s house.
The channel claims the money was a bribe for passing a tender worth Rs. 7 crore in a particular district and that it had used fake currency notes as part of its sting operation.
Unfazed by the controversy, the minister defended his wife, saying it was a conspiracy to defame him.
“There is no need for me to take bribe, and my wife is not that kind. She is innocent. There is a conspiracy behind this… I have not come into politics to make easy money, but serve the people,” he told reporters.
“I cannot tell who is and who is not behind the conspiracy,” the minister said, when he was asked whether there was some person or some party behind the incident.
“I belong to the oppressed community and it is common for us to face such situations. I have been rendering social service, which you (media and people) all have been seeing,” the minister added.
Reacting to the controversy, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he was not aware of the sting operation and wouldn’t be in a position to talk much about it.
Meanwhile, the Opposition, especially the BJP, demanded the resignation of Mr Siddaramaiah and Mr Anjaneya.
“Siddaramaiah, who has been claiming that his government is clean, stands exposed in the sting operation. The Chief Minister must immediately resign from the post,” said Jagadish Shettar, senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister.
Former Deputy Chief Minister and veteran BJP leader KS Eshwarappa also demanded that Mr Anjaneya immediately resigns from his post.
“I would not like to talk much about whether the minister’s wife was involved in accepting bribe or not, but I would suggest the Minister to resign and the Chief Minister initiate an inquiry into the issue,” he added.