Karnataka: Congress In Damage Control Mode After Video Of Senior Leaders Ugrappa And Saleem Ahmed Discussing 'Corrupt Ways' Of State President D.K Shivakumar Goes Viral
The Karnataka Congress on Wednesday suspended its media coordinator M.A Saleem and issued a showcause notice to a former MP V.S Ugrappa after the two senior Congress leaders were caught on camera discussing the corrupt ways of state party chief and former minister D.K Shivakumar.
An embarrassed state unit of the Congress was forced to act in a bid to contain the damaging fallout after the video of the conversation, which took place during a media conference on October 12 between Ugrappa and M.A. Saleem, went viral.
Saleem was removed from the primary membership of the Congress for six years while Ugrappa has been asked to explain his utterances.
The two veteran leaders, who were about to address a press meet on Tuesday, appear to have indulged in the conversation on the dais unmindful of the presence cameras and the microphones set up by various Kannada news channels.
In the video, Saleem can be clearly heard saying: “There are adjustments connected to DKS (Shivakumar). It is a big scandal. If dug deeper, it will reach him (Shivakumar) also. How much money would Shivakumar have made in this if a commission agent can make ₹50 crore to ₹100 crore?”
Saleem is heard saying that commission for irrigation contracts had gone up from 8% to 12%. "Earlier, the commission was 6-8 per cent. DKS increased the percentage to 12 per cent." Saleem is heard bemoaning to
Shivakumar served minister for Water Resources in the Congress-JD(S) colaition cabinet of H.D. Kumaraswamy (2018-19). He faced several charges of corruption.
Saleem is also heard complaining to Ugrappa that Shivakumar was a notorious "collection giraaki" (agent), who had pocketed crores of rupees as commission. While, Ugrappa pointed out that the party, under the leadership of Shivakumar, was "failing to bounce back".
Saleem is also heard in the video making a reference to the erratic leadership style of D. K Shivakumar.
"People thinks he is drunk as he stumbles on the words while speaking. But it is perhaps to do with low BP (blood pressure). But Siddaramaiah is not like that. Look at his body language. It is always kadak (firm)," Saleem says in the video.
In another viral video of a recent presser, Shivakumar was seen struggling to pronounce 'Jallianwala Bagh'. Despite his colleagues attempting to correct him with the right pronunciation, Shivakumar continue to mispronounce and appeared to be generally incoherent.
Reacting to the viral video, Ugrappa accused mediapersons of highlighting a private conversation.
The ruling BJP said the video was leaked as part of bitter factional feud between former CM Siddharamiah and D.K Shivakumar. It urged . Shivakumar to clarify on things spoken against him by his party colleagues on the KPCC platform. The party also said that Shivakumar's dream of becoming the CM has been scuttled by his own party member.
In Sep 2019, Shivakumar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday evening (3 September) in connection with a money laundering case.
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