The Communist Party of India-Marxist on Thursday said it had removed GV Sreerama Reddy, veteran leader and secretary of the Karnataka State Committee, from all elected positions on charges of "serious misconduct." Sreerama Reddy, who was appointed as the state secretary in 2012, was also part of the partyâ€™s Central Committee.
In a statement, the party said it had selected U Basavaraj, currently a state secretariat member, as the new secretary of the Karnataka unit.
Sreerama Reddy is facing allegations of sexual misconduct and financial misappropriation after an internal inquiry found him guilty. He had successfully contested Assembly elections in 1994 and 2004 respectively from Bagepalli assembly segment in Chikkaballapur district. This time, he lost to sitting Congress MLA SN Subba Reddy by a margin of more than 10,000 votes.
According to The Wire, the decision to sack Sreerama Reddy was taken after a central committee meeting on December 15 and 16 based on the probe. Some of the charges against the veteran leader included female colleagues' complaints of sexual harassment, land deals and irregularities in funding.
Charges of sexual misconduct have been denied by Sreerama Reddy, who has been part of the CPI(M) for more than five decades. Deccan Herald quoted sources saying that state leaders were opposed to the decision until Polit Bureau member S Ramachandran Pillai weighed in.
Like Sreerama Reddy, Basavaraj had joined the party from his student days. He was part of the Studentsâ€™ Federation of India (the student wing of the party) and the All India Kisan Sabha (CPIMâ€™s farmer wing) before joining the CPI(M).
In 2016, Basavaraj had led a delegation to meet former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to stop the casteist practice of â€˜mada snanaâ€™ in temples of Subramanianswamy in coastal Karnataka.