Dubai-based surgeon gifted me the controversial luxury watch, says CM Siddaramaiah

Bengaluru: Troubled over watch controversy, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday revealed on Thursday that the expensive watch was gifted to him by his close friend Dubai-based Gopal Pillai Girish Chandra Verma.

It was gifted to him when Varma, a cardiothoracic surgeon in Dubai visited India in July 2015.

CM claimed that the his friend had gifted him a second hand watch and was not as expensive as JD(s) head HD Kumaraswamy claimed it to be.

Contrary to Kumaraswamy’s claims that luxury watch was worth Rs 70 lakh, Siddaramaiah said that he was told by his friend that the watchwas worth about 75,000 dirhams (about Rs 15 lakh).

“Varma and I have been friends since 1983. We met in Bengaluru in July . He was over whelmed to see me after several years and he instantly removed his watch and gave it to me out of affection. I refused to take it, but he kept persisting till I did,” Siddaramaiah said.

CM said that Varma did MBBS in Davangere and MS in Mangaluru. Before going to Dubai in 2005 he had served in US and France.

Siddaramaiah earlier had said that he would declare the Swiss-brand Hublot watch before the Income Tax department and the Lokayukta.

The News Minute had reported that Siddaramaiah claimed that he would pay gift tax on it and would declare it as a state asset.

“I’ll also declare it as part of my assets and pay the gift tax as required. I’ve already got a gift affidavit done in this regard with Varma’s consent,“ he said.