A Lingayat seer on Monday, 18 April, accused the Basavaraj Bommai-led Karnataka government of taking a 30 percent cut as commission from the grants set aside for the welfare and development of mutts (monasteries).
This is a latest corruption scandal the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has landed in, just days after KS Eshwarappa resigned from his ministerial position after a contractor, who had accused Eshwarappa of corruption, died by suicide in a lodge in Udupi on 12 April.
"Even we are aware of the cut scam. If any grants have to be released to the mutts for the welfare and their development, the government cuts 30 per cent as commission before releasing the amount, otherwise, it doesn't work at all. The officials say that if you don't agree to the cut from the grants, then the grants won't be released," Dingaleshwara Swami said, as per NDTV.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Bommai said that his government takes the allegations "very seriously" and will "get to the bottom of the case".
"He's a great Swamiji," Bommai said. "He's well known in the state. I only request his holiness to furnish the proof of whom the commission was paid to, for what purpose he has paid, and to whom he has paid... We will certainly inquire and get to the bottom of the case," he added.
In July 2021, when Lingayat strongman BS Yediyurappa was exiting as the chief minister of the state, Dingaleshwara Swami led a delegation of over two dozen sadhus from across the state to extend support to him. He had also warned of a BJP fallout in the state if Yediyurappa was removed from the post.
Corruption Charges Against Eshwarappa
Last week, Eshwarappa submitted his resignation to Bommai. Eshwarappa wa, on Wednesday, 13 April, charged with abetment of suicide of a Belagavi-based contractor Santhosh Patil, who had accused the minister of corruption.
Patil had earlier accused Eshwarappa of asking for a bribe of 40 percent of the total cost of a project, demanding a commission to the tune of Rs 4 crore for the construction of a road in Belagavi's Higaldo village.
Patil's allegations found the support of several contractors' associations, who said paying 40 percent commission was the usual practice.
As furore erupted over the minister's involvement in the case, the Congress party held large protests demanding Eshwarappa's resignation and demanding a judicial probe.
Following this, Eshwarappa said on Thursday that he would hand in his resignation on Friday.
Bommai on Friday, 15 April, accepted Eshwarappa's resignation.
(With inputs from NDTV.)