Roshan Baig: Once The Face Of Muslim Leadership In Karnataka, The Former Congressman Is Now Politically Ostracised
For the seven-time MLA from Shivajinagar constituency in Bengaluru, losing the faith of his own community seems like the last blow to a four-decade long political career.
Seven time MLA from Shivajinagar in Bengaluru and former Karnataka Congress leader Roshan Baig’s time with the prison bars continues as his judicial custody was extended by 14 more days on Wednesday.
The Central Bureau of Investigation which arrested him for his alleged involvement in the mutlicrore IMA scam, had procured his custody for a day and questioned him until Wednesday evening. It sought an extension of police custody but the court remanded him in judicial custody.
With this Baig, who as the tale goes, was once known to roar saying ‘nothing moves in the Vidhan Soudha’ without his notice is back in the Parappana Agrahara as his bail application hearing too stays postponed upto Friday, 4 December.
The former minister‘s fall out with the Congress left him ‘politically orphaned’ as the BJP refused him a ticket in the 2019 bypolls that were a result of the defection of the former coalition government leaders to the BJP.
While Baig was one among the 17 who quit their respective parties bringing down the Congress-JD(S) government, he was the only one who was denied a ticket by the BJP.
He was then seen campaigning for the BJP candidate against Rizwan Arshad of the Congress who went on to win the legislative assembly elections.
Arshad had also been the Congress MP candidate from Bengaluru Central and lost to BJP’s P C Mohan. Baig is said to have desired the 2019 Lok Sabha ticket so he could pass on the baton of the legislative assembly seat to his son Ruman Baig. But both these wishes of the former face of the minority community in Karnataka remained unfulfilled.
This saw an unhappy Baig, who had also been miffed with being given no ministry in the coalition government, speak publicly against the Congress party leaders post polling, calling them names that left the party riled against the seven-time MLA from Shivajinagar.
While the party warned him issuing show cause notices, he refused to ‘bother to read them’.
The party then expelled Baig for ‘anti-party activities close on the heels of the accusations by IMA founder Mansoor Khan about Baig’s involvement in the scheme of things. So while he quit the party at the same time as those ministerial berth aspirants who jumped over to the BJP, he wasn’t ‘taken in‘ by the saffron party, although he was then seen campaigning against the Congress in his own constituency.
Soon after the elections, in August 2019 the state handed over the investigations of the IMA scam, in which he had been named by the key accused Mansoor Khan as having received kick backs to the tune of Rs 400 crore, to the Central Bureau of investigations. Khan was arrested in September 2019 and documents found during investigations in 2019 at Khan’s residence showed Baig as a key recipient of payments among other politicians, policemen and government officials.
The CBI which also raided his residence on Monday had earlier obtained Baig’s custody for three days after which he complained of illness and was admitted to Jayadeva Hospital. After a detailed checkup he was back to the prison from where he was sent to CBI custody for a day.
But for one of the most prominent Muslim leaders who had held the Muslim dominated Shivajinagar constituency for seven terms, and the wakf and the Haj portfolios multiple times, losing faith of his own community seems like the last blow to his four-decade long political career.
For it is the Muslim middle class that invested in the ‘shariah’ compliant investment scheme that saw more than Rs 40,000 crore being swindled in the name of a ‘Islamic’ money saving scheme. It had the kingpin Mansoor Khan fleeing the country only to be arrested in September 2019. He was granted bail recently owing to his failing health.
But links with scams is not new for the Baigs who have previously been in similar docks after the former minister‘s name propped up in the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam involving his brother Rehan Baig In the early 2000s. He had then resigned from the SM Krishna cabinet but both his brother and the primary accused Abdul Karim Telgi were acquitted, the latter a year after his death.
A scam of over Rs 20,000 crore saw the primary accused acquitted for ‘lack of evidence’ and the case quickly erased off public memory.
And today, as Baig sits behind bars at the same Parappana Agrahara that then saw Telgi too resting ‘royally’, one wonders if this case would meet a different fate with the political scenario being starkly different from the times that the state was a Congress stronghold.
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