Former Karnataka Minister K.J. George was reinducted into the Siddaramaiah ministry, close on the heels of being given a clean chit by the CID in a case related to the alleged suicide of a deputy superintendent of police.
George, a close confidant of the chief minister, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Vajubhai Vala at a ceremony held in Raj Bhavan.
George had resigned on July 18, soon after a court in Madikeri in Kodagu district directed police to register an FIR against him and two police officers in connection with the suicide of 51-year-old M.K. Ganapathy.
Ganapathy was found hanging from a ceiling fan in a room at a lodge in Madikeri on July 7, prior to which he gave an interview to a local TV channel saying the Minister and AM Prasad (now Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety) and Pranab Mohanty (now on central deputation as Additional Deputy Director General of UIDAI) would be responsible "if anything happens to me."
The court had issued directions based on a private criminal complaint by Ganapathy's son, Nehal, requesting it to direct police to take up investigation against the minister and the officers for allegedly abetting his father's suicide. Karnataka CID, which investigated the case, on September 17 gave a clean chit to George and two senior police officers in its 'B' report, filed in a court in Madikeri.
George is likely to retain Bengaluru development and town planning portfolio, which he had held when he stepped down amid a huge political storm in the state with the Opposition gunning for him. He had also held the Home portfolio earlier.
With the reinduction of George, the strength of the Siddaramaiah ministry now stands at 34, the maximum constitutional limit for the state.
Siddaramaiah, his cabinet colleagues, Congress legislators and senior government officials were present at the swearing-in.
The opposition parties—the BJP and the JD(S)—have taken exception to the reinduction of George.
Earlier this month, Siddaramaiah on September 5 had expanded his Cabinet by inducting M. Krishnappa into his ministry.