Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar Compares Himself to Rape Survivor
My situation is like that of a rape victim, said Speaker Ramesh Kumar.
The proceedings of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly hit a new low on Tuesday, 12 February, when the Speaker made a rape joke during the budget session. Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar compared himself to a rape victim, during the debate on the Yeddyurappa audio tapes, claiming he was like a victim who had been verbally raped several times during a trial.
“My situation is like that of a rape victim. Rape happened just once. If you had left it at that it would have passed. But when you have reported the rape and the accused is put in jail, his lawyers will ask how did the rape happen, what time it happened, how many times it happened, how all did he rape.. etc. At the end of it, you get justice or not, rape happened once, but you get raped 100 times in the court. This is my condition. (sic)”Ramesh Kumar, Karnataka Speaker
The rape joke didn’t end there. Eshwarappa in response said it is only after Kumaraswamy brought up the tapes that “it became clear how times you (the Speaker) were raped”. Most of the legislators burst into laughter following these statements.
Debate on Audio Tape Investigation Consumes Session
For the second day, the Karnataka Assembly proceedings were consumed by debates on the investigation into the audio tapes released by Chief Minister Kumaraswamy.
The ruling coalition and the Opposition remain at loggerheads over who should conduct the investigation into the audio tapes, in which Yeddyurappa is allegedly heard offering bribe to an MLA’s son and stating that Rs 50 crore has been offered to the Karnataka Speaker.
The BJP demanded a judicial probe or an investigation by a Legislative House Committee, however, the coalition stuck to the decision to appoint a police Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Amidst these debates and rape jokes, two days after the Budget was presented, discussion on the budget and voting on the Finance Bill has still not happened.
By the end of the session which went till around 7pm, Speaker Ramesh Kumar called for a meeting at 10.30am on Wednesday between the leaders of both camps to reach a conclusion on the investigation.
‘The Allegation Amounts to Anti-Corruption Law’: Siddaramaiah
Coalition Coordination Committee Chairperson Siddaramaiah said, since the allegations raised after the release of the audio tapes comes under a section of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) and Indian Penal Code (IPC), there should be an investigation by a competent authority.
“This incident attracts PCA and Indian Penal Code IPC sections. This is an offence. A judicial inquiry is a fact-finding body that cannot prosecute, and so is the case with a House Committee. This is why police or SIT should investigate,” said Siddaramaiah.
SIT Will Be Given Powers Under Prevention of Corruption Act
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Krishna Byre Gowda said that the SIT will be given powers under the Prevention of Corruption Act to investigate the audio tapes.
“We will give the investigating officer the power of a station house officer to take a complaint. We will give (the SIT) the same powers enjoyed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the power the Lokayuktha had. They will investigate and they will decide the details of the charge sheet. Then the court will take a decision and not the chief minister,” said Gowda.
‘SIT Comes Under Chief Minister’: Yeddyurappa
Yeddyurappa said that they will not accept an SIT probe as it would come under the chief minister.
He further added that Chief Minister Kumaraswamy is also accused of violating the rules by sending Sharangouda the recording and letting out the conversation. “According to the clip he released, he is involved in the following offences – publicising a false document and knowingly publicising said document. These are crimes under IPC,” argued Yeddyurappa.
He added that only 3 minutes of the 35 minutes were released by the chief minister. “If Kumaraswamy had information that the Speaker was named or appears, his intention would be to drag his name into this. As a CM you've conspired, that much is clear,” said Yeddyurappa.
‘I Retained Your Intelligence Chief’: Kumaraswamy
In his rebuttal, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy questioned Yeddyurappa’s apprehensions about the SIT. “He (Yeddyurappa) had appointed an ADGP intelligence. When he failed to prove majority and we formed the government, we retained that person as the intelligence chief. Many people have complained and asked me to remove the officer, but I trust our officers,” said Kumaraswamy.
Commenting on Yeddyurappa’s allegation that only a portion of the audio tape was released, Kumaraswamy said: “Ee released only 2 minutes of the 40 minutes audio, and you are in so much trouble, imagine if we had released the entire 40 minutes of it.”
Amidst the discussion about on the probe, the discussion on the Budget is yet to take place. After the meeting called by the Speaker on Wednesday, the Budget session is expected to begin.
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