Yeddyurappa’s 2017 Video Tape That’s Haunting BJP Before the Polls
The Anti-Corruption Bureau has become a topic of political standoffs in Karnataka.
(This article was originally published on 9 March 2017 & is being republished from The Quint’s archives in the context of recent allegations against BS Yeddyurappa based on this videotape.)
On 10 October 2017, the Anti-Corruption Bureau in Karnataka filed an FIR against BJP State President BS Yeddyurappa and Union minister HN Ananth Kumar.
The FIR was based on a video clip of an alleged conversation between Karnataka BJP president BS Yedyurappa and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar.
In the conversation recorded in February 2017, both leaders were supposedly heard discussing financial transactions with their party high command and conspiring against Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
On 4 October 2017, results of the authenticity test of this video was released by the Forensic Science Labs in Bengaluru. The results confirmed that the voices in the video were that of Yeddyurappa and Kumar.
Soon after the FSL report surfaced, rumours began doing rounds that the anti-corruption body has filed an FIR against the two leaders.
The BJP leaders were quick to pounce on the controversy.
Yeddyurappa told the media that that the ACB was acting intentionally on Siddaramaiah’s orders. “He has failed to get Ananth Kumar and me. We're ready to face the ACB,” he said.
However, it was later found that no such FIR was filed by the ACB . MN Reddi, Director General, ACB, categorically denied any case being registered against Yeddyurappa and Kumar.
In February, the Congress released an video clip recorded on a private news channel’s microphone. In the video, the two leaders were heard confessing to financial transactions made to their party high command.
The video was recorded at a BJP function and the leaders – oblivious to the microphone placed in front of them – spoke about financial transactions and making accusations of corruption against Siddaramaiah.
After the conversation emerged, CM Dhananjaya, chairman of KPCC’s legal cell, filed a complaint on 15 February with the cyber police.
The Forensic Report
Following this complaint, a Bengaluru court asked the BJP leaders to submit their voice samples for the FSL test. Based on these samples and the video, FSL sent a report to the Cyber Crime Cell stating the voices in the recording were of these two leaders.
Why BJP Is Against ACB Probe
An FIR being registered is not a reason to worry for the BJP leaders, as an FIR was already registered in February when a complaint was filed in the cyber crime police. However, the sections slapped in his FIR were of criminal conspiracy, sedition, and two sections of the Information Technology Act.
No case under The Prevention of Corruption Act has been charged against these leaders. In Karnataka, the ACB is the premier agency for booking cases under The Prevention of Corruption Act.
Thus, transferring the case to the ACB would mean Yeddyurappa, who has to lead the campaign against the “corrupt Congress government” ahead of 2018 elections, would have another case of corruption slapped against him.
The cyber-crime cell comes under the city police, thus the case remains with them. As the city police generally doesn’t file a case under The Prevention of Corruption Act and transfers corruption cases to the ACB, there will not be a fresh FIR filed against Yeddyurappa and Kumar.
However, the recent track record of the ACB gives the two leaders no relief. The ACB had earlier registered two FIRs against Yeddyurappa on August 10 and August 17 relating to a land denotification case, based on a complaint by a person named D Aiyappa. So the chances of the case being transferred to the ACB remains high.
ACB filing cases under sections of The Prevention of Corruption Act is only a practice in the state. If need be, the city police can also invoke these sections under same.
In other words, the trouble is not over for Karnataka’s senior BJP leaders.
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