George will remain home minister, asserts CM

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said K J George would continue as home minister. After demanding a CBI probe into the death of IAS officer Ravi, the BJP took up the cudgels against George on the grounds that he has stakes in the companies which were raided by Ravi as officer of the commercial taxes department.

Siddaramaiah, in an interaction with this newspaper on Monday, said he would not change the portfolio of George. “He is doing a good job as home minister. Why should I remove him?”

When his attention was drawn to rumours that George would be replaced by T B Jayachandra, Siddaramaiah said, “They are just rumours. I have no plans to effect any changes at this juncture.”

To a question by reporters whether he was under pressure to quit as home minister, George replied in the negative. “I will continue as long as the chief minister and the party want. I am just doing my duty. I have been carrying out the responsibilities given to me.”

Asked whether his companies were raided by Ravi, George said they were not. “Embassy Golf Links is a joint venture company in which I have stakes. This has not been raided. BJP leader Jagadish Shettar and others are saying I have committed some irregularities. Let them prove it with documents instead of making baseless allegations.”

When his attention was drawn to comments by the Opposition that there could be conflict of interest, as he was not just a minister, but also he and his family were into various businesses, the minister said it was a fact that he and his family members were running business. “Is there anything that bars us from doing business? If any illegality is committed, then I could be exposed,” he said.

To a query whether the government could have handled Ravi’s death case in a better way, he said this particular case was politicised to the hilt by the Opposition. It was possible to take a decision on handing over the case to the CBI only after ascertaining certain facts about the case. “The government took the decision within a week. How many cases did the BJP, when it was in power, hand over to the CBI?” he questioned.

To a question regarding City Police Commissioner M N Reddi announcing that Ravi had committed suicide, George said, “Reddi is a senior officer and he knows his job. I can’t direct him not to talk.”

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