Under attack from opposition BJP over the alleged suicide of a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday hit back at the rival party, rejecting its demand for a probe into the case that led to the exit of K.J. George as a minister, and questioning continuance of central ministers facing FIRs.
In a counter-offensive against the Opposition a day after George quit "voluntarily", Siddaramaiah sought to turn the tables on the BJP, saying several union ministers were facing FIRs and criminal cases but "why have they not resigned?".
He said union ministers Bandaru Dattatreya, Smriti Irani and Uma Bharti were facing FIRs and seven of the newly inducted 19 union ministers had criminal cases registered against them "but the BJP was silent on this and is singling out George", who resigned hours after a court ordered registration of FIR against him and two police officials over the DySP suicide.
He said mere filing of an FIR does not warrant action but still George stepped down as a "loyal soldier" of the party, saying he did not want to embarrass the Congress, the chief minister and the government. "Let them (BJP) get the resignations of Dattatreya, Smriti Irani and seven ministers facing criminal cases. Is there a separate law for us and them?" the CM added.
George resigned on Monday shortly after a court at Madikeri in Kodagu district directed police to register an FIR against him and two top police officers in connection with alleged suicide of 51-year old M.K. Ganapathy.
The body of Mangaluru DySP Ganapathy was found hanging from the ceiling fan in a room at a lodge in Madikeri on July 7.
Hours before his death, in an interview to a local TV channel, he had said George and A.M. Prasad (IG-Intelligence) and Pranab Mohanty (IGP-Lokayukta) were harassing him and they would be responsible "if anything happens to me."
Accusing the BJP of "moral bankruptcy", Siddaramaiah said the Congress would "expose their true colours" and "false propaganda" with statewide party programmes.
"I have accepted George's resignation with pain. We have not taken his resignation. He himself resigned voluntarily," he said, adding, his ministerial colleagues had advised him (George) against stepping down.
Siddaramaiah said Prasad and Mohanty have not been asked to go on leave as was being speculated.
Lashing out at BJP for persisting with its demand for a CBI probe, he said, "There is no need to hand over the case to CBI. A judicial commission has already been formed. The matter has also gone to the court...So no need to refer the matter to CBI."