Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday rejected BJP's demand for resignation of minister K J George after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked him over the death of a police official, saying the case was "totally politically motivated".
There was "no case warranting resignation of George. It is a totally politically motivated case to tarnish the image of George and the government", he said here strongly backing his minister.
Siddaramaiah's defence came a day after the CBI, which has been directed by the Supreme Court to take over the case, filed the FIR naming George and two others in connection with the mysterious death of Deputy Superintendent of Police M K Ganapathy last year.
Siddaramaiah was talking to reporters after a meeting of senior ministers where the issue and its fallout were understood to have been discussed with the state assembly polls due early next year.
Hitting out at the BJP which has asked for George's exit, he alleged that 11 central ministers were facing "serious" criminal charges. "Let them also resign. Why should they continue?"
Even state BJP chief and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa was facing several cases, including cheating, he claimed.
"Politically, the Congress is very confident of facing the BJP. They have no moral right (to ask for George's resignation), he said.
He said George had earlier resigned on "moral grounds" in the same case and his name was cleared by the state CID which had "thoroughly" probed it.
George was re-inducted into the cabinet after the state CID gave a clean chit to him.
Besides George, former IGP (Lokayukta) Pranov Mohanty and ex-ADG of police (state intelligence) A M Prasad have also been named in the CBI FIR.
Ganapathy (51) was found hanging from the ceiling fan in a room at a lodge in Madikeri on July 7, prior to which he gave an interview to a local TV channel, saying the then home minister George, Prasad and Mohanty would be responsible "if anything happens to me".
Yeddurappa had on Thursday demanded the resignation of George and said the state BJP would stage a protest against him if he did not quit.
"Since the CBI has named George as the first accused (in the case), I demand his resignation immediately," he had said.