BENGALURU: An anti-corruption activist group, Janaadhikaara Sangharsha Parishath, has filed a complaint with the Karnataka Lokayukta against the media adviser to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai for allegedly attempting to bribe journalists of several media houses “in the guise of Deepavali gifts”.
The complainant seeks direction to the ADGP, Lokayukta Police, for an investigation into the matter of cash gifts allegedly given to journalists, editors and reporters of TV channels and newspapers. According to the complaint, CM Bommai through his media adviser Shankar Pagoji, has tried to bribe journalists recently.
“Information about a complaint submitted to the ADGP, Lokayukta Police, against the Chief Minister of Karnataka for payment of bribes to chief reporters of several media houses in the disguise of Deepavali gifts, through his media coordinator Shankar Pagoji for criminal offence of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1088, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018 and relevant provisions of any other law,” stated the complaint.
Meanwhile, the Congress on Friday demanded a judicial probe into the alleged cash gift case against the BJP government headed by Basavaraj Bommai. The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), on its official Twitter handle, questioned the source of the “money” being misused by the government.
The KPCC tweeted, “There should be a judicial inquiry into the Chief Minister’s Office ‘sweet box bribe’ to journalists. Is that misuse of public tax money? What is the source of the money? How much bribes have been paid? How many received bribes? How many (journalists) returned?”
“We did not simply campaign against Bommai as PayCM. This government is receiving bribes and giving bribes. All bribes are routed through PayCM. The government is trying to hush up scams by purchasing media outlets just like the government came to power by purchasing MLAs,” the KPCC claimed in another tweet.
The Congress, in September, launched the ‘PayCM’ campaign accusing the BJP of corruption in the state.
ನಾವು ಸುಮ್ಮನೇ @BSBommai ಅವರನ್ನು ಪೇ ಸಿಎಂ ಎಂದಿಲ್ಲ!
ಈ ಸರ್ಕಾರ ಲಂಚವನ್ನು ಪಡೆಯುತ್ತದೆ, ಲಂಚವನ್ನು ನೀಡುತ್ತದೆ!
ಇವೆಲ್ಲವೂ #PayCM ಮೂಲಕವೇ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತದೆಯೇ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿಗಳೇ!?
ಶಾಸಕರನ್ನು ಖರೀದಿಸಿ ಸರ್ಕಾರ ಮಾಡಿದಂತೆ ಮಾದ್ಯಮಗಳನ್ನೂ ಖರೀದಿಸಿ ಅಕ್ರಮಗಳನ್ನು ಮುಚ್ಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಹುನ್ನಾರವೇ?#SayCM
— Karnataka Congress (@INCKarnataka) October 28, 2022
Other Congress leaders, including Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala also demanded an explanation from the government on the alleged journalist bribing matter.
Surjewala tweeted, “The #40PercentSarkar seeks to bribe the journalists with Rs1 Lakh cash! Will Mr. Bommai answer- 1. Isn’t it “bribe” being offered by CM? 2. What is the source of Rs1,00,000? Has it come from Public Exchequer or from CM himself? 3. Will ED/IT take note?” (ANI)