Fresh trouble awaits former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy as Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Sunday said that he will order a CBI probe into charges of phone tapping during the previous coalition government citing demands by several political parties, including Congress.
“On the telephone tapping issue. Several leaders, including Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, have said it should be probed and truth should come out, so I have decided to order a CBI probe. Tomorrow itself I will order the probe,” Yediyurappa told reporters here.
The CM’s announcement came in amid signs that the scandal was brewing ever since disqualified JD(S) MLA A H Vishwanath, who served as JD(S) state president and turned rebel later, last week accused the H D Kumaraswamy government of tapping phones and spying on more than 300 people, including himself and Congress Legislature Party leader S Siddaramiah.
Stating that Kumaraswamy did not trust anyone, Vishwanath created a political stir by saying that such illegal tapping was a criminal offence. He also pointed out that Ramakrishna Hegde resigned as CM in the late 1980s on similar phone tapping charges.
Denying the allegation, former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who had headed the coalition government said: “Let them do any inquiry, whether it is a CBI inquiry or any other agency of international standard, or let them talk to Trump (US President Donald Trump) and get it inquired through someone from his side.”
He also hit out at the electronic media for its coverage on the issue, saying no one can do anything to him. He alleged that their intention and attempts were to keep him away from the people of the state of Karnataka.
Meanwhile, Congress, which is alliance partner of JD(S), seemed to be a divided house. While many Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah, M Mallikarjuna Kharge and home minister in the alliance government M B Patil, had sought a probe, another key party leader and former minister D K Shivakumar has rejected the snooping charges and appeared to have extended his support to Kumaraswamy. Congress on its official Twitter handle has also said that telephone tapping “was a bundle of lies” and a conspiracy for hate politics.
There are allegations that during the last few months of his tenure, the Kumaraswamy government tapped mobile and landline phones of top state BJP leaders, disqualified rebel legislators of the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) and three senior IPS officers.
The coalition government of the JDS and the Congress fell in July with Kumaraswamy resigning on July 23 after losing a trust vote necessitated by the resignations of 15 rebel legislators.