The JD(S) on Monday stepped up its attack on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is caught in the Arkavathi Layout denotification controversy, and demanded that he resign and the matter be probed by the CBI.
Addressing a press conference here, State JD(S) president H D Kumaraswamy accused Siddaramaiah of trying to make documents pertaining to the layout inaccessible so as to cover up the irregularities.
This is the first time that the JD(S) has demanded the resignation of Siddaramaiah. On Saturday, party supremo H D Deve Gowda had said that Siddaramaiah would not be able to save his chair.
Kumaraswamy accused Siddaramaiah of illegally denotifying around 500 acres of land in Arkavathi Layout by misinterpreting the guidelines issued by the Karnataka High Court.
Around Rs 600 crore to Rs 700 crore may have changed hands in the deal, he said.
He said Siddaramaiah should go by his conscience and tender resignation. The JD(S) leader said investigations into the entire Arkavathi episode should be handed over to the CBI.
Kumaraswamy wondered why the government was yet to submit details sought by the Justice H S Kempanna commission constituted to probe the denotification issue. He also referred to an exclusive report published by Deccan Herald in this regard last week.
“Siddaramaiah says he has not indulged in irregularities. Then, why have documents not been submitted to the commission of inquiry, despite repeated reminders. Getting access to the documents related to the Arkavathi issue has become near impossible. Officials say they need the chief minister’s permission to make them available,” Kumaraswamy said.
While the preliminary notification for Arkavathi Layout sought acquisition of 2,750 acres, the final notification issued last year stated that 1,766 acres had been acquired, he said.
Kumaraswamy said that the process of denotification of Arkavathi Layout had commenced during the BJP regime. The then chief minister B S Yeddyurappa had appointed four land acquisition officers for the process. His successors D V Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar had decided to go ahead with denotification, but final orders were not issued as the then urban department secretary had opposed the move. Kumaraswamy said he would submit all documents in his possession to the commission of inquiry this week.
BJP consults RSS
In another part of the city, senior BJP leaders, including Ananth Kumar, Sadananda Gowda and Yeddyurappa, who have been planning to seek the sanction of Governor Vajubhai Vala for the prosecution of Siddaramaiah in the Arkavathi denotification issue, held consultation with RSS functionaries. The BJP is said to have received the go-ahead from the RSS.
BJP general secretary C T Ravi told reporters that the party’s State president Pralhad Joshi would soon seek an appointment with the governor to submit the party’s petition against Siddaramaiah. However, it is also speculated that the party may make a non-BJP man submit a request to the governor, as done in the case of Yeddyurappa.
Siddaramaiah reiterated that he had not denotified even a single “gunta” of land. “The denotification was done during the BJP regime. I had to sign the file. Otherwise, contempt of court proceedings would have been initiated against me,” he said.
He said Kumaraswamy’s statement was politically motivated. On his demand that the case be handed over to the CBI, Siddaramaiah said, “Why this sudden love for CBI.
Kumaraswamy and his father Deve Gowda had termed CBI as Chor Bachao party,” he said.