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BJP, Opposition trade barbs over state drug racket
The high-profile drugs case involving actress Ragini Dwivedi resulted in heated exchange of words between the ruling BJP leaders and the opposition parties in Karnataka on Monday, with both accusing each other of patronising alleged drug cartels in the state
Bengaluru: The high-profile drugs case involving actress Ragini Dwivedi resulted in heated exchange of words between the ruling BJP leaders and the opposition parties in Karnataka on Monday, with both accusing each other of patronising alleged drug cartels in the state.
Reacting sharply to the Opposition parties' charges, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa asserted that his government will not protect anyone related to drug cases.
His sharp reaction was in fact a response to the Leader of the Opposition and Congress leader Siddaramaiah and Janata Dal (S) leader H.D. Kumarswamy, who have been accusing the ruling BJP of handling noted Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi's case with a lax approach.
Speaking to reporters here, Yediyurappa asserted that there was no need for his party or government to pressurise anyone to protect someone in this case.
"Drug menace will weaken our youngsters, hence, we are not the ones who will indulge in protecting anyone in this case. We have given the police a free hand to deal with the matter," he claimed.
Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai maintained that the police will regularly share intel info with the neighbouring states as the present drugs case needs trans-state border approach in order to tackle this menace.
"Most of the accused who have been arrested so far have procured drugs from the neighbouring states, hence it has become all the more important for us to initiate talks with our counterparts in these states," he said.
Earlier in the day, without mincing his words, Siddaramaiah had caustically remarked that it was in public domain for whom Ragini Dwivedi campaigned during the by-elections.
"There is video evidence. BJP leaders cannot wash away their hands from this. If there is any grain of evidence that she was involved in the drugs case, she should be punished. I appeal to the police not to succumb to any political pressure," he said.
He added that the Congress as the main opposition party has decided to raise as many as 1,200 questions in both written and starred formats for the forthcoming legislative session. In response to a question, Siddaramaiah said that let police take action even against Congress leaders if they have proof. "I would not like to lie, drug menace existed even prior to my tenure as CM. But be it me or my predecessors, we tried our best to curtail it with an iron hand. But that is not happening now," he said.
The drug racket in Bengaluru appears to be much bigger than thought. It is not just Sandalwood stars, the drug scandal rocking the Karnataka film industry has now taken a political turn with the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) bringing several local political leaders and their kin under its scanner.
On Sunday, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) conducted a raid at the residence of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Congress corporator Keshavamurthy and his son. The NCB zonal and Mumbai officials conducted raids at the Keshavamurthy's residence and issued a notice to his son Yashas to appear before the NCB on September 7 in connection with drug peddlers. Yashas has been asked to depose before it in Mumbai on Monday.
Earlier, former Karnataka minister late Jeevaraj Alva's son Aditya Alva, who is also the brother-in-law of Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, was among the 12 accused against whom the CCB had filed a suo motu FIR. Aditya is the son of late Jeevaraj Alva, who was the minister in Ramakrishna Hegde Cabinet, and danseuse Nandini Alva.