Siddaramaiah in Row over Son-Linked Lab Contract, Oppn Wants Probe
Karnataka CM’s son lands in controversy; BJP demands probe.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has come under fire after his younger son was permitted to set up a lab and diagnostic facility at government-run hospitals, in alleged violation code of conduct for ministers.
Siddaramiah has said that ‘everything is legal and transparent’ and that his son Yathindra, is a pathologist. Karnataka Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar has said that Yathindra has participated on merit without any favouritism.
The lab will be run in partnership with Matrix Imaging Solutions India, in which, Siddaramaiah’s son Yathindra Siddaramaiah is a director.
Unfazed by the criticism, the Chief Minister on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing, saying:
He (his son) is a doctor by profession. His friend is having a company. He is one of the directors. They had participated in the tender. They are the lowest bidder. It is for service to the people, there is no money involved from the government.
The BJP president in Karnataka, Yeddyurappa, has said that Siddaramaiah is misusing his power as the Chief Minister and that it’s a big offence. He added that legal action will be initiated.
The issue snowballed into a controversy when Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council KS Eshwarappa, while talking to reporters in Udupi, demanded a probe into the matter.
Just because he is Chief Minister’s son there is nothing that he should not work. But, whoever it is, the tender has to be as per law and rules. Chief Minister has already said that it is as per rules. So let there be an investigation on this.KS Eshwarappa, Leader of Opposition, Karnataka
Eshwarappa said this in an apparent poser why the government should shy away from probe.
Chirthahalli Mudlagiriyappa Rajeshgowda and Yathindra are directors of Matrix Imaging Solutions India Private registered in 2009.
The code of conduct for Ministers (both Union and state) says that:
After taking office, and so long as he remains in office, the Minister shall ensure that the members of his family do not start, or participate in, business concerns, engaged in supplying goods or services to that government (excepting in the usual course of trade or business and at standard or market rates) or dependent primarily on grant of licenses, permits, quotas, leases, etc from that government.
The code, posted on government website, also states that the minister shall report the matter to the Prime Minister, or the Chief Minister as the case may be, if any member of his family sets up, or joins in the conduct and management of, any other business.
The lab will have biochemistry, pathology, CT scan, MRI scans, X-ray and ultrasound facilities for patients.
A post on the Facebook page that updates about the state government programmes, dated 7 April said, ‘the lab is being run in partnership with a private lab, Matrix Solutions. Being run under public-private partnership, the private company will provide the equipment, while the government would give space in the hospital to run the service’.
It also claims the services provided at the centre will be cheaper.
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