Siddaramaiah defends self, says didn’t ask for ‘cot, pillow’ for Sasikala

Bengaluru: In a major revelation, a retired top jail official of Parapana Agrahara central prison said special amenities were being given to AIADMK chief VK Sasikala, serving her term in a corruption case, at the intervention of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
The revelation will give opposition BJP a fresh fodder to attack the state Congress ahead of the assembly elections scheduled in May this year.
Former DGP Prisons Sathyanarayana Rao, was the head of the state’s prisons department in 2017 when a senior police officer D Roopa exposed irregularities including special treatment to Sasikala.
Rao was removed from the post and an inquiry committee appointed to investigate allegations that jail officials were paid Rs 2 crore to extend special treatments to Sasikala, who is serving a four-year sentence in the jail. It was in his deposition before this inquiry committee that points finger at the Chief Minister.
According to reports, in a statement given before the inquiry officer and submitted before the court, Rao had said a cot, bed and pillow were provided to Sasikala in the jail on instructions from the Chief Minister.
Rao on Tuesday moved the Karnataka High Court questioning February 26 government order directing Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to register a case against him under sections of Prevention of Corruption Act in this regard.
Speaking to reporters, Rao on Wednesday said he had placed all the documents before the court.
“Class one facility was not given at all. The matter is before the High Court of Karnataka, the affidavit filed by me, statement given by me before the inquiry officer, is all before the high court. Things will be known during the next hearing… making any statement now will not be proper,” Rao said.
Questioned whether the Chief Minister had told him to provide pillow and other amenities to Sasikala, he said, “It is there in my statement, things will be known during the next hearing.”
On whether he was accusing the Chief Minister, he said, “it is not an accusation…let the high court decide, as the matter is before it.”
As word got around about the allegation, the BJP’s P Muralidhar Rao took a swipe at Siddaramaiah for his “gesture” to ask officer to make Sasikala’s jail stay comfortable. “This is outrageous and direct interference in the day-to-day administration going against the jail manual,” the BJP general secretary tweeted.
As the attacks from the BJP intensified through the day, Siddaramaiah came up with his defence.
Denying having instructed officials to give certain amenities to jailed Sasikala, Siddaramaiah, on Wednesday, said denied he only asked them to follow the prison manual.
“A delegation from Tamil Nadu had come to me stating that Sasikala was not even given a mat and pillow. Then Sathyanarayana Rao was DGP (Prisons).