Bengaluru: Revenue minister R. Ashok on Monday joined issued with former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on alleged tapping of Adichunchanagiri seer Sri Nirmalananda swaniji’s telephone, saying he did not mention any leader’s name though he spoke the truth, and had no intentions of playing “hide and seek” in this controversial issue.
Responding to Mr Kumaraswamy’s tweet that the revenue minister had apologised for a mistake which did not occur, and that he pitied the latter’s urgency in expressing regret to the seer, Mr Ashok told the media here: “I am part of the government, and whatever I have said is true. The CBI is investigating the case, and those who have not committed any mistake need not fear about the consequences. All I said is that the government, which eavesdropped on telephone conversations of the seer, committed an unpardonable mistake. I did not say which government.”
Clarifying that officers probing the case of eavesdropping on conversations over the phone had parted with this information (about the seer’s phone) before it was handed over to the CBI, Mr Ashok said, “Truth will come out (through CBI probe), and whoever has done this has committed a sin. Since he is the seer of my community, I said so.” Last week, Mr Ashok’s cabinet colleague and deputy chief minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan led the attack on phone tapping issue through a vituperative attack against the previous government. “For now, it has only appeared in media reports that the phones of the seer and his driver had been tapped. But it’s true. Very soon, it will be revealed how low the previous chief minister stooped. To treat the holy seer like a smuggler... it reeks of how their thought process works.”
Sources in BJP said it was a concerted attempt to corner Mr Kumaraswamy, and woo members of the Vokkaliga community.
When asked about Chief Minister Mr B.S. Yediyurappa’s statement that he was walking a tightrope, Mr Ashok said he was not aware about the context in which the leader made the statement. “We are with Mr Yediyurappa. I am not aware about lack of coordination within the party. The CM has said that disqualified legislators will get tickets (to contest Assembly bypolls), and we are with him. I don't know why Mr Umesh Katti said disqualified MLAs are not with the BJP” he added.