Bengaluru: The Congress in Karnataka on Wednesday suspended party media coordinator M A Saleem from the party for six years and served a show-cause notice to former Lok Sabha member V S Ugrappa after a video of a conversation between the two leaders about state Congress President DK Shivakumar went viral.
The video, also procured by TV9, showed a purported conversation between the two attributing the Congress State president DK Shivakumar’s involvement in a scam when he was a Minister.
Taking strong exception to the clipping that went viral, Shivakumar said he cannot deny that the conversation did not take place and rejected the content of the conversation.
“I’ve seen reports in the media about the clips. It has nothing to do with me or the party. The conversation in the clip happened before the press conference. I believe Ugrappa has clarified in his statement. I will not blame the media. You show what we speak. The disciplinary committee will take action,” he said.
“I am unrelated to what they have spoken. I was never part of any ‘percentage’ (share in contracts) and I don’t need it. I have no connection with it (share in contracts),” Shivakumar said.
Acting swiftly, the party suspended Saleem from the party for six years and served a show-cause notice to Ugrappa, who is Congress spokesperson, seeking an explanation in three days.
However, Ugrappa clarified Saleem was only briefing him what the BJP people have been talking about the raids carried out by I-T Department since October 7 against three major contractors executing irrigation and highway project on 47 premises in four States, including Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The search and seizure by the I-T officials have resulted in detection of undisclosed income of about Rs 750 crore, the I-T Department said in a statement on Tuesday.
Minutes before the press conference by Ugrappa on Tuesday, Saleem sat next to him and started whispering about the scams.
“Earlier, it was eight per cent. He increased it to 12 per cent. These are all adjustments by DKS,” Saleem is heard saying in the purported video.
“Mulgund (close aide of DK) has made Rs 50-100 crore. Imagine if Mulgund has this, then how much DK has…” he adds.
In reply, Ugrappa said he did not know those things.
“I don’t know this. We all made a point to make him (Shivakumar) State president. That’s why I am not saying anything. These are the reasons…,” Ugrappa is heard saying.
Further, Saleem said Shivakumar stammers these days. “He stammers these days, maybe because of low BP or something else,” Saleem said to which Ugrappa agreed.
Saleem also wondered whether Shivakumar drinks and even gets emotional these days. He then hailed Siddaramaiah for his strong body language.
Clarifying his position, Ugrappa held a press conference today and said Shivakumar and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah are like two eyes and both were dear to him. Ugrappa said Saleem was briefing him about what the BJP leaders were talking outside. However, the place chosen by him was wrong and he could have spoken in private and not before the media, he clarified.