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Siddaramaiah defends induction of "tainted" ministers

Last Updated: Saturday, January 4, 2014 - 20:44

Bangalore: Under attack over his mini-cabinet expansion bringing in two senior "tainted" legislators, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday defended his action, saying the new ministers D K Shivakumar and R Roshan Baig have not been held guilty of corruption.

"Have they (Roshan Baig and D K Shivakumar) been proved guilty in any court of law? No, they haven`t. There is nothing wrong in inducting them into the cabinet," he told reporters here at his official residence "Krishna".

Shivakumar and Baig, who are viewed as "scam tainted", were inducted yesterday reportedly reluctantly by Siddaramaiah who had kept them out of the ministry for several months but yielded to party high command.

A former Congress state unit working president, Shivakumar is facing allegations of illegal mining and land scam. Baig is under cloud over land-grab charge. He had resigned as minister in 2003 for alleged links with the multi-crore Karim Telgi fake stamp paper scam.

To a query, Siddaramaiah said it was not prudent to compare alleged corruption of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and mining barons Reddy brothers (Janardhana and Karunakara) with Shivakumar and Baig.
"They weren`t jailed like Yeddyurappa and Janardhana Reddy," he argued.

Moreover, the BJP does not have any moral right to question the induction of Shivakumar and Baig as R Ashok and K S Eshwarappa continued in the previous BJP ministry, despite facing corruption charges, Siddaramaiah said.

On the delay in cabinet expansion, he retorted, "Can anyone question why we have delayed it. We had to do it and we did it now. It is a political decision. We take such decisions after discussing them with the High Command."

To another question, Siddaramaiah retorted, "Who told you we have Low Command. We have only High Command. There were no hurdles (in expanding the ministry). We have freedom (to take decision). There was no interference."

Siddaramaiah`s move has not gone down well with civil society groups and several prominent public figures, who had been opposing induction of Shivakumar and Baig, besides triggering discontent among ministerial aspirants.

PTI
First Published: Saturday, January 4, 2014 - 20:44

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