The row over Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s luxurious Hublot watch took a dramatic turn on Friday with JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy raising questions about its origin and hinting that it could be a stolen possession.
A day after Siddaramaiah revealed that the watch was a gift from a Dubai-based cardiac surgeon-friend, Dr Girish Chandra Varma, Kumaraswamy contested the information and questioned whether the chief minister really received the gift from Dr Varma, or from a “police
Addressing a press conference, Kumaraswamy, demanding a CBI inquiry into the watch row, insisted that there was a connection between a complaint lodged with the police about stolen watches by one Sudhakar Shetty from Bengaluru, and the watch in Siddaramaiah’s possession.
He said that Shetty, a resident of ‘Mohini Apartment’, on Rest House Road in the City, had lodged a complaint with the Cubbon Park police about stolen valuables, including expensive watches, on May 7, 2015. Dr Shetty was based in Kuwait for almost three decades and had returned to live in Bengaluru.
“Nobody knows what happened to that complaint. On February 10, I received a call from Shetty’s friend claiming that the watch in Siddaramaiah’s possession was the same that went missing last year. He also revealed the details of those who were questioned by the police. But Sudhakar Shetty has failed to come out in the open and clarify. It appears he is not saying anything as he is under tremendous pressure,” he said, releasing a series of photographs showing Siddaramaiah sporting several expensive watches.
Kumaraswamy said that foul play by police could not be ruled out. “The entire affair is suspicious and there has to be a detailed enquiry. The government is using the police machinery to loot public money,” he said, hinting at police misuse of the seized articles in the case too.
Defending himself and his son Nikhil Gowda, Kumaraswamy made an interesting confession: “My son is a private person. He can buy a Lamborghini or even a chopper if he wishes to. I have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life, and I will pay a price for it. But I have not looted public money in the process.” Kumaraswamy, however, did not elaborate on the mistake that has cost him dear.