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K'taka minister to resign over Valmiki scam

Amid allegations of involvement in an illegal money transfer case, Karnataka's Deputy Chief Minister announced the resignation offer of Minister B Nagendra, prompting opposition protests and demands for further resignations, while investigations continue into the multi-crore scam involving funds meant for Scheduled Tribes welfare.

News Arena Network - Bengaluru - UPDATED: June 6, 2024, 04:27 AM - 4 mins read

K'taka Minister Nagendra to resign over Valmiki Corp scam : Deputy CM Shivakumar

K'taka minister to resign over Valmiki scam

Karnataka Minister B Nagendra. (File Photo)


Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar announced Thursday that Minister B. Nagendra has offered to resign following allegations linked to an illegal money transfer case. Shivakumar suggested Nagendra might step down from the Siddaramaiah Cabinet later in the day.

 

In response to the controversy, the opposition BJP staged a protest march from Vidhana Soudha to Raj Bhavan, petitioning Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot to demand the resignation of the Scheduled Tribes Welfare Minister. The BJP described the incident as a "big corruption scam."

 

"There is no need for anyone to demand a resignation. The Chief Minister, Home Minister, and I have discussed the matter with the Minister," Shivakumar said.

 

"Nagendra has assured us of his innocence, but to avoid embarrassing the party, he has offered to resign. I believe he will do so today."

 

He added that the Chief Minister would make the final decision after consulting with the Congress high command.

 

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stated he would decide on seeking Nagendra’s resignation after discussing the matter with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the multi-crore scam and consulting senior Cabinet colleagues.

 

The illegal money transfer case, involving the Karnataka Maharshi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation Ltd, surfaced after the corporation's accounts superintendent, Chandrashekhar P., died by suicide on May 26, leaving behind a death note.

 

The note exposed the unauthorised transfer of Rs 187 crore from the corporation's bank account, of which Rs 88.62 crore was illegally moved to various accounts, allegedly including those of well-known IT companies and a Hyderabad-based cooperative bank.

 

Chandrashekhar's note implicated the corporation's now-suspended Managing Director J.G. Padmanabh, accounts officer Parashuram G. Durugannavar, and Union Bank of India Chief Manager Suchismita Rawal, also alleging that the "Minister" issued oral orders for the transfers.

 

Following the news of the CBI filing an FIR based on a complaint from the Union Bank of India, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar reportedly summoned Nagendra, urging him to step down with the assurance of reinstatement if cleared of charges.

 

Last week, the Union Bank of India lodged a formal complaint with the CBI regarding the embezzlement, which involved its MG Road branch. The bank also suspended three officials. The corporation subsequently filed an FIR against top Union Bank of India officials over the Rs 88 crore embezzlement.

 

Home Minister G. Parameshwara confirmed Wednesday that the CBI has initiated a probe into the case. He added that the Cabinet would consider a formal request from the CBI to extend the investigation to state government departments involved.

 

The state government has formed an SIT, led by Additional Director General of Police for Economic Offences Manish Kharbikar, to conduct the probe.

 

A BJP delegation, led by state President B.Y. Vijayendra and Assembly Opposition Leader R. Ashoka, petitioned the Governor to seek the resignations of both the Chief Minister and Nagendra.

 

"A major corruption scam has occurred in the state, where funds meant for the ST community's development were illegally transferred to over eighteen fake bank accounts in Hyderabad. This cannot happen without the Finance Department's approval," Vijayendra said. "The Chief Minister, who also oversees the Finance Department, should be held accountable and resign."

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