Will this have a Streisand effect?

news Monday, June 13, 2016 - 10:06

The truth behind Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah’s controversial luxury ‘Hublot’ watch might never be revealed, as the government has said a strict ‘no‘ to the request to inspect the watch.

Recently, the request of Bhaskaran, an RTI activist who wanted to look in to the controversial gift-turned-state property luxury watch was denied, saying that there was no provision to inspect it, reported Bangalore Mirror.

The watch controversy has been a major political weapon against Siddaramaiah as both BJP and JD(s) have used it to accuse the Congress party of corruption. JD(S) even went to the extent of checking the price of the watch in a showroom to prove that it was worth over Rs. 50 lakh.

The chief secretary's office received the watch on March 2 from the Legislative Assembly, along with the CM's letter in which he said that he had received it as a gift on July 2015 from his doctor-friend.

“I'm directed to inform you that there is no provision to inspect an object under section 2 (j) (i) (ii) and (iii) of the RTI act,“ Sharanappa, personal secretary to chief secretary to government (cabinet affairs), said in a letter on June 3.

But Bhaskaran claimed that “section 2 (j) (i) (ii) (iii) of the RTI Act clearly allows taking notes, extracts, certified copies of records or documents, and taking certified samples of material.

“A watch can be an accessory or a component. Just because there is no word `object' in the RTI Act, denial clearly indicates a move to cover it up. So with this, it is clear that no one can ever watch the watch closely,” he said.

CM drew flak for inconsistencies in his defence as he claimed that the watch was a gift from his long-time friend Dr. Girish Chandra Verma, who was 10 years younger than him. The media also pointed out that his ‘close’ friend did not come forward to defend him when trouble was brewing.

Later, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy pointed that the watch could have been stolen from NRI Sudhakar Shetty’s house in Bengaluru. However, Shetty said he had nothing to do with the watch.