Vinay Kulkarni, a former Congress minister in Karnataka, has been taken into custody by the CBI in connection with a 2016 murder case in which BJP zilla panchayat member Yogeeshgouda Goudar was killed inside a Dharwad gymnasium in northern Karnataka. Goudar's relatives had subsequently asked for the case to be handed over to the CBI.
Reacting to Mr Kulkarni's arrest, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tweeted:
The arrest of @vinaykulkarniJH by CBI is politically motivated & is the outcome of disgusting vendetta that is ingrained in the cells of @BJP4India.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) November 5, 2020
The blatant misuse of institutions to intimidate opposition leaders is the pattern followed by @BJP4India since 2014.
I had spoken to @vinaykulkarniJH. He rejected all the allegations and claimed to be innocent. Even State police did not frame any charges & did not find any evidence.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) November 5, 2020
Frustrated by this, @BJP4India leaders is attempting to trouble him through CBI.
.@BJP4Karnataka lack able political leaders. They want opposition leaders to join BJP and hence using institutions like CBI, ED, IT to blackmail. @INCKarnataka leaders are very confident of overcoming these hiccups and face BJP's political vendetta.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) November 5, 2020
State Congress President, D K Shivakumar, also alleged it was a political move. "I fully stand by Vivek Kulkarni and Congress leaders. They are in no way responsible...This is all politics. There is no involvement in this by any of our party members," he told reporters.
DK Shivakumar has had his own run-ins with the CBI, having been raided by the agency only last month. He advised CBI officers not to give in to political pressure, reminding them of a case involving former Karnataka Home Minister, K J George, and the suicide of a police officer. Earlier this week, Mr George was cleared of all charges.
"I just want to tell the CBI - take him (Mr Kulkarni) as many times as you want. You have the right. But don't yield to this political pressure. Your office should not become a political weapon," Mr Shivakumar said. "K J George was harassed so much. He had to resign. But today they have given him a clean chit."
The Congress in Karnataka has often alleged that the CBI and other central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate and the IT department were being misused by the Centre to settle political scores.