Karnataka Law Minister Suresh Kumar quits

Karnataka Law Minister Suresh Kumar quits

Minister accused of hiding facts to get BDA site

Karnataka Law Minister Suresh Kumar quits
Karnataka Law & Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar, facing allegations of suppressing the fact that his family owns property while securing a BDA site under the chief minister’s discretionary quota in Bangalore, has resigned.

The minister put in his papers on Saturday morning as a ta­bloid carried a report in wh­ich a former BJP worker Bh­askar had alleged that Suresh Kumar had secured a BDA site under the government (G) category in RMV extension II th­ough his mother owned a ho­use in Sharada Colony, Ba­saveshwarnagar.

 In addition, his mother and daughter ow­ned two more sites in Nelamangala. Bhaskar said that he had obtained information regarding the immovable properties of the minister under the Right to Information Act. Bhaskar,  an associate of Kumar, had recently quit as the secretary of the BJP unit of Rajajinagar, the minister’s constituency.
Bhaskar has alleged that Kumar in his affidavits before the Election Commission in 2008 had declared that his mother, who is a retired teacher, as a dependent on him. His mother’s house in Malleshwaram was notified by the BBMP for road widening when Kuma­raswamy was the chief minister. Following this, Kumar had so­ught a BDA site from the go­vernment. B S Yeddyurappa had allotted a site in Nagarbhavi. Kumar lost the site because it was notified. 

Following this, Kumar got an alternative site allotted in RMV extension by Yeddyurappa in 2011. But the Malleshwara house, which was notified for the road widening, was denotified by the BBMP last year and it was sold by the minister for Rs 74 lakh. The minister got a G category site despite his family owning a house, Bhaskar charged. 

As per the BDA rules, a person is eligible for a site allotment only if he/she and any members of the family does not own a site or a house in Bangalore Metropolitan Area. Many legislators in Karnataka, in blatant violation of the rule, own more than one site in Bangalore. The Karnataka High Court in 2010 had ruled that the chief minister has discretion to direct the BDA to allot sites under the G category.

Kumar, who submitted his resignation to Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, said he was quitting on ‘moral grounds’ and was ready to prove he had not filed any false affidavit before any agency to get a site. “These allegations are made against me to tarnish my image. I am hurt and hence my resignation,” he said. 

Unlike many ministers, he is not residing in a government bungalow. He resides in a house which is in his mother’s name. In case his resignation is accepted by Gowda, then the cabinet strength will reduce to 22 . The land-related scams have already forced many ministers to resign. 

The chief minister, who refused to accept the resignation till late in the evening, said that he would not take any decision in haste. “He has not committed any mistake while taking the BDA site. I will obtain all information in this regard. I will take the decision if found that he has really committed any mistake,” he told reporters.

Gowda said Suresh Kumar is one of those ministers who conduct themselves in a transparent manner. “It is the right of all legislators to obtain a G category site. Suresh Kumar and I could not get a site in the past. His obtaining a site now has been unnecessarily made an issue,” he stated.  The State Cabinet on Saturday, attended by only 7 ministers, requested Gowda to reject the resignation of Kumar. Congress leader Siddaramaiah, while welcoming the resignation, said that even a good politician such as Kumar has been spoilt because of bad association in the BJP, while JD (S) leader H D Kumaraswamy said that the ‘drama’ of Kumar would end in withdrawal of the same. 

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