BJP alleges Cong MLA gifted Mercedes car to Siddaramaiah as quid pro quo

This is not the first time that such a controversy has erupted in Karnataka.
BJP alleges Cong MLA gifted Mercedes car to Siddaramaiah as quid pro quo
BJP alleges Cong MLA gifted Mercedes car to Siddaramaiah as quid pro quo

The BJP has accused former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of accepting a 2019 Mercedes Benz sedan as a gift from Congress MLA Byrathi Suresh from Bengaluru’s Hebbal constituency. The car is touted to cost an estimated Rs 1.8 crore. Incidentally, Byrathi Suresh is one of the richest MLas in Karnataka with his election affidavit saying he has assets worth Rs 416 crore.

Though Suresh has denied these allegations and has claimed that he gave the car to the former CM for a ride once, the BJP insists that the car was a quid pro quo. Suresh had recently been posted as the chairman of the Karnataka State Small Industries Development Corporation recently.

“Congress MLA Byrathi Suresh gifts Sri @siddaramaiah a Mercedes-Benz car worth 1.5 crore. Wears spectacle costing ₹2 Lakh. Wore 80 lakh worth hublot watch Siddaramaiah vere looks like you have made enough & more money during your 10% govt,” the party said in a tweet.

Suresh and Congress denies

Speaking to TNM on Sunday, Suresh claimed, "It’s my car. It's the one I use to travel. It's registered under my wife's name. I did not gift it to Siddaramaiah. I only let him use it once. Is that wrong? Wouldn't you let your friends ride your car if they need to? It was not a gift. Please try to understand."

Congress senior leader and Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar too tried to downplay the allegation saying, “There is no gift or anything. We also sometimes take our friends' vehicle to travel. There is no issue. Is there any record that he has received a gift or anything? Nothing, no record.”

However, speaking earlier with TNM, former Lokayukta and SC judge Santosh Hegde had said any government official or party leader should declare any gift worth above Rs 5,000 as per rules.

Similar controversies

A controversy had erupted in 2016 when the Congress had accused BS Yeddyurappa of accepting an SUV worth Rs 1 crore from BJP leader Murugesh Nirani. The Congress had alleged that Nirani had gifted Yeddyurappa the SUV so he could be comfortable while travelling for his "drought-tour". Yeddyurappa had denied allegations that the car was a gift and stated that he had returned it to Nirani.

The Hublot watch controversy also took broke out in early 2016 during Siddaramaiah's tenure as Chief Minister.

At a time, when the state was reeling under extreme drought and farmers were committing suicide, Siddaramaiah had appeared in public sporting the diamond studded luxury watch costing over Rs 70 lakh. He claimed it to be a gift from a long time friend currently residing in the Middle East. The BJP had then claimed that Siddaramaiah's goggles are also of a luxury brand which allegedly cost a minimum of Rs 50,000. However, Siddaramaiah claimed that they were collectively not worth more than Rs 5 lakh.

Then opposition leaders— former CM BS Yeddyurappa of the BJP and current CM HD Kumaraswamy had even asked for a CBI enquiry on the issue. Later, Siddaramaiah had to hand over the watch to then Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa who declared it to be the property of the state legislature.

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