Karnataka CM rules out minister’s resignation

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday ruled out the resignation of Cabinet Minister K.J. George against whom the CBI had filed an FIR for abetting the suicide of Deputy Superintendent of Police M.K. Ganapathy in July last year.

“No need for George to resign. The FIR filed by the CBI is a continuation of the same registered at the local police station (Madikeri), which the state CID had investigated and gave George a clean chit in the case,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here.

The Crime Investigation Department (CID) had “thoroughly” investigated the case, he said.

“George had resigned once (July 18, 2016) after the local (Madikeri) court ordered the local police station to register the case against him and the two police officers and was re-inducted into the cabinet (September 26, 2016) only after the CID found George had no role in the DSP’s suicide,” Siddaramaiah said.

Terming the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) demand for George’s resignation “politically motivated”, the Chief Minister asked why the central ministers against whom FIRs were filed and pending did not resign or were not sacked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Siddaramaiah said 20 of the 64 union ministers have got criminal cases against them, including eight of cabinet rank.

“There are FIRs against at least 20 central ministers, including (Union Minister of State for Skill Development) Anantkumar Hegde and (Union Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation) Ramesh Jigajinagi from Karnataka. Why have they not resigned?” asked Siddaramaiah.

“Why should George resign? He won’t. Let the central ministers resign first,” he reiterated.

Siddaramaiah also referred to the criminal charges and cases filed against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other BJP lawmakers, including BJP’s state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa.

On Yeddyurappa’s charge that George would influence the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe if he continued as minister, Siddaramaiah questioned how it would be possible when it (CBI) was an investigation agency of the central government.

“Since CBI is under the central government, where is the question of influencing the investigation?” he asked.

Senior BJP leader and Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar also demanded that George should either resign or be removed from the cabinet.

“The Supreme Court has also rubbished the state CID report. George must resign or be removed from cabinet immediately by CM Siddaramaiah,” Javadekar tweeted.

BJP MP from the state Shobha Karandlaje questioned if the Chief Minister has got “something to hide”. “Sack and let him face the enquiry,” she tweeted.

Ganapathy had hanged himself on July 7, 2016 in Madikeri, about 250 km to the west of the state capital.

Before his death, the police officer had accused George and Additional Director-General of Police (Intelligence) A.M. Prasad and Inspector-General of Police Pranov Mohanty of harassing him.

The state’s CID, which had initially begun probing the case, had given a clean chit to the minister and the two police officers stating that “there was no evidence to establish the charge of abetment against the accused”.

After a plea by Ganapathy’s father M.K. Kushalappa, a CBI probe was ordered into the case by the Supreme Court.

On the apex court’s directive, the CBI had registered a case of abetment of suicide against George and the two police offers. Ganapathy was working under Prasad and Mohanty and was reporting to them.

Though the agency had filed the FIR against George and two senior police officers on October 14 in Chennai, it came to light only on Thursday.