“Transfer the case to CBI, transfer it to Trump.” Former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy’s bravado doesn’t change the fact that he is at the heart of the audiogate scam and is likely to face the music as the CBI probe begins. Was the phone-tapping done to protect his own political interests, as well as those of his son, Nikhil, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections? Kumaraswamy’s alleged actions have also put the careers of top IPS officers on the line, for having followed instructions from the top, reports M.K. Ashoka
The audiogate scam has caused ripples through the political class in Karnataka, returning to centre stage as the incumbent BJP government handed it over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The scam has become a battle between the ruling BJP, the Congress and the JD(S). With the scam implicating former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy, even top Congress leaders like Siddaramaiah have insisted on a CBI investigation. Word on the grapevine is that the BJP central leadership has joined hands with the Congress to beat the Gowda family on their own turf. Both national parties have taken advantage of this opportunity to subdue the regional rival.
The scam came to light after the transfer of Alok Kumar from his post as Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru. The audio tapes, which surfaced on social media, apparently captured the new Commissioner, Bhaskar Rao, lobbying for the post with power broker Faraz. Sources have named Alok Kumar and senior IPS officer Hemanth Nimbalkar. Several junior officers are also under the scanner.
All hell broke lose when then Investigating Officer, Sandeep Patil, stumbled upon a sensational phone-tapping scam. The investigation revealed that as many as 8000 calls had been tabbed and the recorded conversations contained in a whopping 34 GB of data.
Cellphones and landlines of all frontline political leaders, bureaucrats, journalists, IPS officers and businessmen had been tapped, had they been associated with the BJP.
The revelation that the phones of former CM Siddaramaiah, his personal assistant Venkatesh and his media secretary, K.V. Prabhakar, came as an embarrassment to the coalition. Siddaramaiah, the Chairman of the coordination committee expressed his shock and anguish over the incident, which had apparently taken place at the behest of the JD(S). When BJP leadership continued to cry foul, it was found that several other leaders had had their phones tapped also.
CBI investigation This is likely to take some time as the Cabinet still hasn't been formed in the state.
This is likely to happen in a day or two, and after the first meeting, a letter will be sent to the CBI through the office of the Principle Chief Secretary of State.
The former CM is putting on a bold front, saying that the BJP could hand over the case to US President DOnald Trump if they wish!...