Will ACB crack it?

news Monday, April 04, 2016 - 08:44

A complaint seeking a probe by the newly-formed Anti-Corruption Bureau against Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah regarding his luxury watch has been lodged with police in Bengaluru.

Since petitioner Nataraj Sharma could not find the office of the ACB, he has lodged the complaint with the Additional Director General of Police and Bengaluru City Police Commissioner.

Police said the complaint will be forwarded to the ACB.

Sharma, in his complaint, sought ACB probe into the trail of the chief minister's diamond-studded Hublot Big Bang-301-M watch, which was handed over by Siddaramaiah early last month, amid uproar in the state assembly, to Speaker Kagodu Thimappa, declaring it a state asset.

"Sharma has requested the ACB to probe the source of the chief minister's luxury watch," Amrutesh, counsel for Sharma, told PTI here.

The controversy was stoked by JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy, and in response the chief minister had said the watch was gifted to him by his Dubai-based friend Girish Chandra Verma who visited India last July.

Opposition BJP leader Jagadish Shettar had demanded a high-level probe by a central agency into the matter. He had also accused the Chief Minister of violating the code of conduct for ministers and FCRA.

Shettar had also questioned Siddaramaiah's claims of being a follower of Ram Manohar Lohia for his conduct, but wearing a costly watch worth around Rs 70 lakh.

Former Chief Minister Kumaraswamy had also alleged that the watch was stolen from the house of a doctor who had returned from Kuwait and had indicated that the Chief Minister's watch resembled one of the stolen watches.

However, Dr Sudhakar Shetty had clarified to the media that the watch worn by Siddaramaiah wasn't his.

Despite Opposition BJP protests both inside and outside the state legislature, demanding withdrawal of the newly created ACB, Siddaramaiah had made it clear that there was no question of going back.

BJP had alleged that government was "destabilising" the Lokayukta by creating a separate Anti-Corruption Bureau.


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