Siddaramaiah denies ordering special treatment to Sasikala

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today denied having instructed officials to give certain amenities to deposed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala in a jail here, saying he only asked them to follow the prison manual.

He was reacting to reports quoting former DGP Prisons Sathyanarayana Rao that on his (Siddaramiah’s) instructions the amenities were provided to Sasikala at the Parapana Agrahara central prison, where she is serving her term in a corruption case.

“A delegation from Tamil Nadu had come to me statingthat Sasikala was not even given a mat and pillow. Then Sathyanarayana Rao was DGP (Prisons).

I had asked him to see what help can be done according to the jail manual,” Siddaramaiah told reporters.

He said “I had not asked (him) to give specialamenity. I had told, give a mat and pillow, if it is allowedunder the jail manual.”

According to reports, in a statement given before the inquiry officer which was submitted before the court, Rao had said that a cot, bed and pillow were provided to Sasikala in the jail on instructions from the Chief Minister.

A probe has been ordered against Rao over allegations that Rs two crore was paid to jail officials to provide special treatment to Sasikala in the prison last year.

Rao had yesterday moved the Karnataka High Court questioning February 26 government order directing Anti-Corruption

Bureau (ACB) to register a case against him under sections of Prevention of Corruption Act in this regard.

Speaking to reporters, Rao today said he had placed all the documents before the court.

“Class one facility was not given at all. The matteris before the High Court of Karnataka, the affidavit filed by me, statement given by me before the inquiry officer, is all before the high court. Things will be known during the next hearing… making any statement now will not be proper,” Rao said.

Questioned whether the Chief Minister had told him toprovide pillow and other amenities to Sasikala, he said “It isthere in my statement, things will be known during the next hearing.”

On whether he was accusing the Chief Minister, he said “it is not an accusation…let the high court decide, as the matter is before it.”

The then DIG Prisons D Roopa in July last year had brought to light the alleged special treatment given to Sasikala and also said there was “a talk” that Rs 2 crore had been paid as bribe to the officials in this regard.

Roopa had levelled the charges in a report to Rao, being her superior then, while mentioning that there were allegations against him too.

The decision to order the ACB probe was taken after the Vinay Kumar Committee, which was set up to look intothe alleged preferential treatment to Sasikala, submitted its report to the government recently.

On the case going to ACB even after the inquiry committee report, Rao said “I don’t know about it, that’s the reason I have moved the high court.”

Sasikala, a close aide of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalaalitha, is serving a four-year sentence in the prison here in a disproportionate assets case.