Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister S Siddaramaiah on Wednesday handed over his Hublot watch, worth Rs 70 lakh to Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa.
Siddaramaiah decided to hand over the watch after Karnataka Legislative Assembly was rocked by the controversy over a luxury watch gifted to him with JD(S) too joining BJP in pressing for discussion on the issue.
Siddaramaiah's dramatic gesture came when the House reassembled after two adjournments with BJP and JDS persisting with their demand for a discussion on the issue. The Chief Minister said in the letter to the Speaker, who read it out, that he had paid "advance tax" for the watch.
While giving away the high-priced wrist watch, Siddaramaiah declared it as a state asset.
"I, being the Chief Minister of Karnataka, by following the precedents set by my predecessors in Office, declare that the gifted watch HUBLOT BIG BANG.301-M as government asset...," Siddaramaiah said. He requested the Speaker to forward the watch to the Chief Secretary to place it in the Cabinet Hall at Vidhana Soudha.
Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy today led the charge in the Karnataka Assembly and launched a scathing attack on Siddaramaiah.
Kumaraswamy was the first one to target the Congress leader over the diamond-studded watch is worth Rs 68,56,000, and with customs duty is worth Rs 70 lakh.
Siddaramaiah, on his part, had said that the watch was given to him by a person named Dr Girish Chandra Verma, adding that the watch was `second hand`.
"He forcibly took out the watch that he was wearing and gave it to me. I said no, but he insisted and gave it to me. I couldn`t say more as he was a friend," he had told a press conference.
Kumaraswamy had also said that the Karanataka CM has left wearing the sunglasses which is worth Rs one lakh.
Siddaramaiah had left the Janata Dal (Secular) in 2007 to join the Congress.