As Karnataka Campaign Ends, Congress Drops 'Bribery' Bomb. Fake News, Says BJP

"The video is fake, don't believe it," said BJP chief Amit Shah

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Congress alleges bribe was paid for a favourable court order in an illegal mining case


Bengaluru: 

Highlights

  1. Congress releases video it claims shows BJP's Sriramulu negotiating bribe
  2. "The video is fake, don't believe it," BJP chief Amit Shah told reporters
  3. BJP has fielded Sriramulu, a close aide of Janardhana Reddy, from Badami
Just two days before Karnataka votes, the Congress has released a video it claims shows BJP candidate B Sriramulu negotiating a bribe with the son-in-law of a former Supreme Court judge for a favourable verdict in an illegal mining case involving the Reddy brothers.

"The video is fake, don't believe it," BJP chief Amit Shah told reporters on a day campaigning ended for the polls.

At a press conference, the Congress alleged that the video shot in 2010 showed Mr Sriramulu and four "middlemen" discussing "bribe deals" with then chief justice KG Balakrishnan's son-in-law Sreenijan in a case involving the Obulapuram Mining Company owned by Janardhana Reddy.

NDTV cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video.

The BJP has fielded Mr Sriramulu, a close aide of Janardhana Reddy, from the Badami constituency against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress.

The Congress alleges that Mr Sriramulu offered crores as bribe to get a favourable order in a case against Janardhan Reddy, who is accused of illegal mining. on the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border.

The Andhra Pradesh government had in 2009 banned Janardhana Reddy's company from operating its mines in Anantpur. Three months later in February 2010, the high court cancelled the order, after which the state government moved Supreme Court.

On May 10, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Reddys. The next day, Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan retired.

Janardhana Reddy, who was made a minister after the BJP government came to power in Karnataka in 2008, had to quit after a report by the Lokayukta indicted him. He was later arrested by the CBI in 2011.

The Congress questions why the top court allowed his company to continue mining, despite a survey it had ordered recommending the opposite.

The party alleges that a string of meetings was held between January and May 2010 in which bribes of about Rs 500 crore was discussed and "Rs 100 crore was paid" to a judge.

It's not clear who filmed the video but the Congress claims it was shot "because of non-settlement of the bribe amount".

Mr Sreenijan rubbished the allegations. "The allegation is purely political. Why has the Congress waited so long, they could have acted when they were in power," he told NDTV.

The Congress has targeted the BJP for giving tickets to two brothers of Janardhana Reddy, who is out on bail and has been barred by court from entering Ballari, the heart of his mining empire.

Dismissing the claims of the BJP chief that the video is doctored, the Congress has demanded a thorough probe.

"How does he (Amit Shah) know that the video is fake? Is he a forensic expert?" said Dinesh Gundu Rao, the working president of Karnataka Congress.


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