Sack ‘tainted’ Karnataka minister, Congress urges governor


Bangalore : The Congress Tuesday urged Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to sack Forests Minister C.P. Yogeshwar for allegedly cheating people of huge sums of money after promising house sites near Bangalore.

Support TwoCircles

“Yogeshwar is facing cheating charges and should be dismissed if he is not dropped from the cabinet,” Karnataka Congress chief G. Parameshwara told reporters after meeting Bhardwaj at Raj Bhavan here.

Parameshwara said Yogeshwar was continuing in the ministry in spite of a central probe agency establishing his culpability. Hence “we urged the governor to intervene”.

Yogeshwar, who quit Congress in 2009 and joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has denied cheating the investors in his Mega City project floated 15 years ago to offer house sites on the Bangalore outskirts.

However, the Congress is insisting that the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) of the central corporate affairs ministry has found Yogeshwar guilty.

Yogeshwar has indirectly confirmed SFIO findings against him saying the probe agency has finalized its report without seeking clarification from him.

Corporate Affairs minister M. Veerappa Moily has also indicated that SFIO has concluded that Yogeshwar is guilty.

“I have not seen the full report. But it is serious and action will be taken,” he told reporters here last month.

However, Yogeshwar claimed on Sep 22 that out of 3,500 people who invested money in his project, 1,650 have been given sites.

Others could not be provided sites as cases had been filed by some people against the project and those who wanted their money back had been paid, he said.

Disputing his claim, a group of investors asserting they have been cheated have submitted memorandum to Bhardwaj as well as Lokayukta (ombudsman) seeking action against the minister.

Yogeshwar returned to the assembly winning the by-poll in Channapatna, his home town about 60 km from Bangalore, in May this year.

He was inducted into the D.V. Sadananda Gowda cabinet which took office in August following the resignation of B.S. Yeddyurappa ministry on July 31.

Gowda has declined to drop Yogeshwar, saying the SFIO report has not reached his government and charges against the minister have not been proved.

Bhardwaj had said twice last month that he cannot act on his own against Yogeshwar but has taken up the issue with Gowda. “He has promised to look into it,” the governor had told the media.

Gowda, however, has been denying that Bhardwaj had discussed Yogeshwar’s continuance in the ministry.