With Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announcing a CBI probe into the alleged phone tapping case during the previous Janata Dal Secular (JDS)-Congress coalition government, former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Sunday said he was ready for probe by even an international agency.
The Congress, however, seemed to be a divided house.
"Let them do any inquiry, whether it is a CBI inquiry or any other agency of international standard, or let them talk to Trump (US President Donald Trump), and get it inquired through some one from his side," Mr Kumaraswamy, who has already denied the allegations, told reporters in Bengaluru.
Mr Kumaraswamy, who is also the JDS leader, hit out at the electronic media for its coverage on the issue claiming no one can do anything to him.
"I have been observing the conduct of electronic media. Their intention and attempts are to keep Kumaraswamy away from people in the state politics. They will not be successful in it," he said.
Stating that he was not aware as to why his name was linked to the alleged phone tapping case, Mr Kumaraswamy stressed, "If I was involved I would have panicked, I''m open... There is not even an iota... to point fingers at me."
BS Yediyurappa's announcement comes amid signs that the case is gaining political steam ever since disqualified JDS MLA AH Vishwanath, who served as the party state president and turned rebel later, last week dropped the political bomb accusing the HD Kumaraswamy government of tapping phones and spying on more than 300 leaders, including him.
Several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, have directly accused HD Kumaraswamy of being behind the case to save his government, which was then rocked by dissidence within.
The coalition government ultimately collapsed last month with the chief minister losing the trust vote in the assembly.
Mr Yediyurappa on Sunday said he will order a CBI probe into the allegations citing demands by several Congress leaders.
Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah, M Mallikarjuna Kharge and home minister in the previous alliance government MB Patil, have sought a probe. Another key party leader and former minister DK Shivakumar has rejected the snooping charges and appeared to side with HD Kumaraswamy.
The state Congress in a tweet termed phone tapping as "lies" and a conspiracy for hate politics.
Alleging that Yediyurappa was behaving like an "underground criminal" after becoming the chief minister in an "immoral" way by "Operation Kamala" through the backdoor, the party in a tweet said: "In Modi administration CBI was working as a frontal unit of the BJP. Phone tapping was a lies and a conspiracy for hate politics."
Hitting out at the Congress, senior BJP leader R Ashoka expressed surprise over differences in opinion on phone tapping probe within the grand old party.
Pointing out that several Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah, had demanded a probe, he said, "Before handing over for probe they demanded for inquiry, now they are blaming the chief minister, it is not right."
"Without even knowing who was behind the tapping, they are blaming us of vendetta politics. None of us know who is behind it, it should come out through probe," Mr Ashoka added.