Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni and Labour Minister Santosh Lad stayed away from the centenary celebration programme of the Karnatak College, Dharwad (KCD) on Saturday after a Supreme Court judge refused to share the dais with the two 'tainted' ministers at the event.
According to the invitation, Supreme Court judge Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar had to inaugurate the programme. Ministers Kulkarni, Lad, Basavaraj Rayareddi and H K Patil were the chief guests for the programme. Though, Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddi and RDPR Minister H K Patil attended the programme, Kulkarni and Lad stayed away.
Sources in the KCD said that when Rayareddi went to invite Justice Shantanagoudar for the programme, the judge clearly instructed him not to allow ministers Kulkarni and Lad to sit along side with him.
This instruction from Justice Shantanagoudar was reportedly due to Kulkarni's name being linked to the murder of the local BJP leader and Dharwad Zilla Panchayat member Yogishgouda Goudar.
The sources said that Rayareddi tried his best to convince Justice Shantangoudar. However, the judge stuck to his decision and told Rayareddi that he would not attend the programme, if Kulkarni participated. This caused huge embarrassment to the Higher Education Minister, who later called up Kulkarni asking him not to attend the programme.
In his inaugural speech, Justice Shantanagoudar referred to the name of all the dignitaries but skipped those of Kulkarni and Lad.
Speaking to reporters after the inaugural ceremony, Rayareddi stated that as serious allegations have been levelled against Kulkarni and Lad, the two ministers themselves decided not to share the dais with the Supreme Court judge, and hence did not attend the programme.