BJP, JD(S) slam Congress govt's cabinet decision, say it's aimed at protecting Shivakumar

BJP, JD(S) slam Congress govt's cabinet decision, say it's aimed at protecting Shivakumar

Bengaluru, Nov 24 (PTI) The opposition BJP and JD(S) on Friday slammed the Karnataka cabinet's move to withdraw consent for a CBI investigation against Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar in a disproportionate assets case, terming the decision illegal.

They accused the government of going against the law and taking an 'immoral' decision aimed at protecting Shivakumar. They indicated that the issue would be raised, both inside and outside the legislative assembly, to attack the Siddaramaiah administration.

The cabinet on Thursday deemed the previous BJP government's move to give consent to the CBI to investigate the DA case against Shivakumar as not being in accordance with law, and decided to withdraw the sanction.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah alleged that senior BJP leader B S Yediyurappa -- as CM during the previous regime -- had given consent to the CBI probe 'illegally' even before the Advocate General gave his opinion.

Yediyurappa responsed saying that the Enforcement Directorate, which had conducted investigation, had written to the government stating that Shivakumar has violated the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and had shared information with the CBI, requesting the government to take suitable action.

'The then government obtained the opinion of the AG, who indicated by way of opinion that sanction at that stage was not required. However, consent to an investigation by CBI may be given by the government at its discretion; accordingly the state government granted permission to the CBI to investigate,' Yediyurappam said.

He also pointed out that the grant of permission has been upheld by the Karnataka High Court -- and once the investigation is initiated, no authority can withdraw it.

Terming the current government's decision to withdraw the sanction given to the CBI as 'without jurisdiction and illegal', Yediyurappa further said that CM Siddaramaiah has committed an an 'unpardonable mistake' and has 'betrayed the people' by taking such a decision aimed at protecting Shivakumar.

The BJP will raise the issue in detail, along with documents, during the winter session of the assembly in Belagavi starting on December 4, he added.

Yediyurappa demanded an apology from the chief minister to the people and a withdrawal of the cabinet decision.

Yediyurappa's son and state BJP President B Y Vijayendra said the cabinet decision is 'totally illegal and anti-constitutional'.

'It is unfortunate that the cabinet has taken such a decision and the BJP strongly condemns it. The party is deciding on an agitation against it,' he said.

Stating that the decision is aimed at protecting Shivakumar, who is also the State Congress President, he asked the DCM, 'Why are you fearing? Don't you have faith in the law? You have indulged in legal battles for several years now; what made you lose faith in the law today? Why have you taken such an illegal decision through the cabinet?' 'If Shivakumar were honest, as the deputy chief minister he should have opposed this cabinet decision,' Vijayendra further said. 'He seems to be accepting that he has done wrong and seems to have lost faith in the legal process.' JD(S) state President and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy remarked, 'This government is there to protect the looters'.

The decision was taken by a cabinet headed by a chief minister who has been a lawyer and taught law to students, he pointed out. 'This government has tried to show that they are above the law, and it is there to protect the looters, and not for the poor and needy'.

'The DCM has to be appreciated as he has shown magnanimity by not attending the cabinet meeting yesterday,' Kumaraswamy said sarcastically, adding that he would raise the issue questioning the cabinet decision, during the upcoming assembly session.

Senior BJP legislator Basangouda Patil Yatnal said that if the cabinet does not withdraw the decision, he would challenge it legally, in consultation with advocates.

Pointing out that Advocate General (AG) Shashi Kiran Shetty was Shivakumar's personal counsel, defending him in various corruption cases, he alleged in a social media post on X, 'Now, Shashi Kiran as the AG has recommended to the Karnataka cabinet to withdraw CBI consent to investigate DKS (Shivakumar) in the disproportionate assets case.

'This is a clear contradictory move, wherein the personal counsel becomes AG and recommends to cabinet to withdraw CBI consent, and surprisingly the cabinet accepts it.' 'It is a classic case of how politicians are able to circumvent the judiciary using clout,' he alleged.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi termed the cabinet decision as morally and legally incorrect.

He said he is confident that the court would reject the cabinet decision and that the investigation would continue. PTI KSU RS KSU ANE

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