This Article is From Mar 02, 2016

Siddaramaiah's 'Rs 70 Lakh' Watch Controversy Takes Karnataka Assembly By Storm

Mr Siddaramaiah has come under attack over his luxury diamond studded Hublot watch worth Rs. 70 lakh.

Bengaluru: If Karnakata Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had hoped he put the issue on an expensive watch he was seen wearing behind him, he was in for a disappointment today. The Opposition raised the issue in the ongoing Assembly session, saying a probe should be ordered into the matter.

Mr Siddaramaiah had been questioned over a Hublot watch he had worn - with the Janata Dal Secular's HD Kumaraswamy leading the charge, saying it was worth Rs 70 lakh. The BJP had also approached the Enforcement Directorate on the issue. After days of being evasive, the chief minister had said last week that the watch was a gift from a doctor friend working in the Middle East, who handed over his own watch to the chief minister when he admired it.

But there were heated arguments in the Karnataka Assembly today as the opposition refused to let the issue of Mr Siddarmaiah's expensive time piece wind down.

Leader of the opposition in the Assembly, BJP's Jagadish Shettar, said, "Chief minister has said the watch is second hand - he wanted to hush it up, because second hand watch, no receipt is there."

Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said, "The way in which the ruling bench is behaving, their MLAs, they don't want any discussion on the floor. By showing other leaders' watches they cannot escape," he added, referring to the Congress' attempts to say other leaders had extravagant possessions of their own.

In the House, Mr Siddaramaiah said, "They are reading the code of conduct... I have already given a clear answer. I have gone one step ahead. This was a gift given to me in July, I must declare it in my I-T returns by March and in my assets before the Lokayukta by June. Not just that. I will deposit it with the government. It is admitted that it is a gifted watch by an NRI. They are trying to build something around it. Character assassination."