If Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s friend really did give him the watch, why doesn’t the friend now come to his rescue, JD (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy has said.
Holding a media conference on Friday, Kumaraswamy raised questions about the credibility of the chief minister’s defence on how he came to own a watch that costs Rs 70 lakh. He also alleged that the Chief Minister obtained the watch in a dubious manner that involved misconduct on the part of the police.
Siddaramaiah had said on Thursday that a Dubai-based surgeon, who was his friend of 30 years, gifted him his own watch last July. He said that he will make a submission about the gift with the income tax department.
Referring to this, Kumaraswamy said: “How can a friend give a second-hand watch to Siddaramaiah whom he has known for 30 years? And the issue started three weeks ago, why hasn't that ‘close friend’ come to his rescue?” Kumaraswamy said.
The JD (S) leader went on to allege that the government was hand in glove with the police, who were engaging in unlawful activities.
Kumaraswamy claimed that when he showed the pictures to a person whose name he did not reveal, the man said that the watch on Siddaramaiah’s wrist was reported missing from the house of a man named Sudhakar Shetty. Later, Kumaraswamy told The News Minute that Shetty was a retired surgeon, who shifted from Kuwait and settled in Bengaluru.
During the media conference when reporters asked him about the link between Shetty and Siddaramaiah, Kumaraswamy said that it would have to be established by a CBI inquiry.
Kumaraswamy claimed that a complaint to that effect had been filed with the Cubbon Park police station. However, he claimed that Shetty had complained that among the items stolen from his house were two watches. Asked for details, Kumaraswamy claimed that there were no details about the luxury watch mentioned in the FIR, of which he had a copy.
“This could be a case where a police official had kept the watch and given it to the CM in return for a favour” Kumaraswamy alleged.
Claiming that it was not an isolated incident, Kumaraswamy said, “After Congress came to power, it has used the state machinery including police to rob public money and property.”
He said: “I demand a CBI inquiry and a central government enquiry so that we are sure it was a second-hand gift to CM and not a gift by an official in return for a favour,” Kumaraswamy said.
Asked about the allegations made by the Congress leaders about the luxury cars and watches that his son and he own, he said, “My son might own a helicopter, but I cannot be questioned for that. But I did not keep any gifts that were given to me when I was a chief minister and all those allegations about the Rs 2 crore worth watch are false,” he claimed.
“My life is an open book. I am not saying I have not made any mistakes. But I will clarify all of that at the right time,” he added.