Congress seeks investigation by Lokpal into BJP bribery case

Yeddyurappa's chances of once again assuming office will depend on the ability of the BJP to retain power at the Centre. Photo: PTI

The Congress, on March 22, sought an investigation by the Lokpal into a media report that alleged bribes of ₹1,800 crore were paid by former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa to the BJP’s top brass.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, addressing a press conference, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should come forward and clarify whether bribes to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore were taken by the BJP leaders or not. There was no immediate reaction from the BJP on the allegations.

Surjewala said the report by ‘Caravan’ magazine cited a diary, containing details of the alleged pay-offs to senior BJP leaders, which was seized by the Income Tax Department during raids.

“Prima facie, this is a case for investigating all BJP leaders, right from the PM and downwards. It is a fit case to be investigated by the newly-appointed Lokpal,” he said. The Congress spokesperson also read out a purported conversation between Yeddyurappa and a BJP leader alluding to the bribery.

“The diary with BS Yeddyurappa’s signature on it was with the Income Tax Department since 2017. If that is the case why did Modi and the BJP not get it investigated?” Surjewala asked. “Has the Modi government refused permission to order a probe into the pay-offs? Is the diary not proof of corruption by the BJP leadership,” he asked.