Explainer: The alleged Rs 1800 crore payments by BS Yeddyurappa to top BJP leaders

The Caravan story is largely based on the entries in a Karnataka Legislator's Diary from 2009 and notings by an unnamed senior Income Tax officer to Arun Jaitley.
Explainer: The alleged Rs 1800 crore payments by BS Yeddyurappa to top BJP leaders
Explainer: The alleged Rs 1800 crore payments by BS Yeddyurappa to top BJP leaders

Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa paid a total amount of Rs 1,800 crore to the BJP’s central committee – 3 current Union Ministers and two senior BJP leaders –  as well as judges and advocates, and noted it in a diary, a report by The Caravan states. The allegations were repeated by the Congress party which said the payments were made in 2009 to both national leaders and local leaders to ensure that Yeddyurappa was made the Chief Minister. According to the diary entries, an additional Rs 150 crore was paid to Karnataka legislators by his Tourism Minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy.

These diary entries have reportedly been in the possession of the Income Tax Department since 2017. The documents were seized by the I-T department during raids conducted on Congress leader and current Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar’s residence.   

What the diary entries state

The Caravan story is largely based on the entries in a Karnataka Legislator's Diary from 2009 and notings by an unnamed senior Income Tax officer to Arun Jaitley. The diary, according to the IT officer, is supposed to have been written sometime between December 2012 and January 2014. This was a time when Yeddyurappa had broken away from the BJP and formed his own party called the Karnataka Janata Paksha. Though the Caravan broke the story, these diary notes were released by the Congress later, to all media houses.

The diary entries, all in Kannada, are in the form of journal entries and every page bears a signature, which reads BS Yeddyurappa. The BJP has said that the signature and the handwriting in the diary does not match that of Yeddyurappa's. 

The diary makes mention of many alleged payments:

This includes- Rs 1,000 crore to the BJP Central Committee, Rs 150 crore each to finance minister Arun Jaitley and the transport minister Nitin Gadkari, Rs 100 crore to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Rs 50 crore each to BJP stalwart LK Advani and senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi. In addition to these, the entry notes that Yeddyurappa paid Rs 10 crore for “Gadkari’s son’s marriage”.

Rs 250 crores were also allegedly paid to judges and advocates, who have not been named. The payment to the advocates reportedly is legal fees.

In one of the entries, Yeddyurappa has written, “Gali Janardhana Reddy is the key person to make me CM,” and has added his own signature below the statement. The next line mentions the details of legislators to whom money was given by Janardhan Reddy and this includes payments of around Rs 150 crores given to eight Karnataka leaders including PM Narendraswamy, Anand Asnotikar Vasant and Balachandra Laxmanrao Jarakiholi.

Another diary entry mentions amounts allegedly received by BS Yeddyurappa. According to the report, Yeddyurappa received an amount of Rs 2,690 crore from various donors.

Yeddyurappa reacts - "Congress has lost the battle before it began. To be frank, all the issues being raised by Congress, including one raised by them today about alleged payment of crores of rupees, have been already inquired and found that documents are fake. I-T department officials have already probed the issue to find that the documents and signatures and handwritten notes are forged. Congress leaders who are apt in carrying out all these atrocious and malicious campaigns have planted this story in the media to gain political mileage in the coming elections. Above all, issues raised by Congress leaders are irrelevant and false. The issue is a closed chapter.” 

How the documents reached DK Shivakumar

In order to understand how the diary ended up in DK Shivakumar’s possession, one has to go back to February 25, 2017. On this day, Congress leader HM Revanna held a press conference in Bengaluru and announced that they were in possession of a diary, which showed that BS Yeddyurappa had paid thousands of crores of kickbacks to the high command in New Delhi.

Although Revanna had claimed to release copies of the diary to the media, it never materialised. Parallelly, a fight broke out between two BJP leaders Yeddyurappa and BJP MLA from Shivamogga KS Eshwarappa.

On May 11, 2018, a complaint was filed by Eashwarappa's assistant Vinay with the Bengaluru Police Commissioner alleging that Yeddyurappa’s PA NR Santosh had tried to abduct and assault him.

In July last year, a BJP leader from the party’s youth wing – Rajendra Urs had alleged that the abduction attempt on Eshwarappa’s PA was made by Yeddyurappa’s PA in order to obtain certain incriminating information about Eashwarappa that Vinay had in his possession.

According to The Caravan report, a senior IT official stated that during this episode when the diary was stolen from Yeddyurappa’s possession, it landed up in the hands of Congress leader DK Shivakumar. When DK Shivakumar was raided by the IT department, this diary too was seized.

It must also be noted that when Yeddyurappa’s PA was accused of abducting Vinay, Yeddyurappa had stayed away from the police probe and not helped his close confidante.

Who is the ‘key person who could make Yeddyurappa CM’?

Gali Janardhana Reddy is one of the richest politicians in Karnataka. There are 63 cases against Janardhana Reddy, some of his family members and associates in both Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Out of these, 10 cases are concerning the Belekeri port, the chargesheet hasn't been filed in some cases as the investigation is still going on. Twenty-eight of these cases are with the CBI in which chargesheet has been filed in almost all.

In 2001, Janardhana Reddy bought the Obalapuram Mining Corporation (OMC) for Rs 5 crore. When the prices of iron ore skyrocketed in 2002, luck favoured Reddy and he made huge profits.

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