Congress wants BJP candidate disqualified (Lead, correcting para 2)

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New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) The Congress on Friday approached the Election Commission demanding the arrest and disqualification of BJP candidate B. Sriramulu in the Karnataka Assembly polls over a bribery allegation.

On Thursday, the last day of campaigning for the May 12 elections, a video released purportedly showed Sriramulu and three other individuals are seen sitting with the son-in-law of former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan.

Congress had alleged that B. Sriramulu had bribed former the CJI seeking an order favouring a mining company owned by G. Janardhan Reddy.

The Congress on Friday also demanded that a First Information Report (FIR) be registered against all those involved in the corrupt deal with the judiciary, including Sriramulu.

Sriramulu is contesting against Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah from Badami constituency and from Molakalmuru as well.

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A delegation of Congress leaders, including Motilal Vora, Kapil Sibal, Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Surjewala, R.P.N. Singh and P.L. Punia, met Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Om Prakash Rawat, and submitted a memorandum.

They said the evidence, released by the Kannada media, was “significant and shocking” and Sriramulu should be “clearly disqualified” from contesting the Karnataka polls.

They said the “incriminating evidence made for a clear-cut case for the cancellation of the candidature of Sriramulu is made out for both the seats being contested by him in the upcoming Karnataka election.

“In a 40-minute video that has been made public and broadcast widely in the regional Kannada media, it is clearly seen that the candidate Sriramulu and three other individuals (identified as G. Janardhan Reddy, Captain Reddy and Swamiji) are seen sitting with the son-in-law of a former Chief Justice of India.

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“The discussions between them, as seen in the video and reported by the media, relate to the payment of money to the son-in-law to secure a favourable judgment of the Supreme Court for the Reddy brothers. Upon viewing the video, there can be no doubt as to the agenda of the meeting taking place,” it added.

Sibal said: “While this was circulating on the TV channels yesterday (Thursday), the Chief Electoral officer in Karnataka banned the showing of this particular video on TV channels in Karnataka.

“We said this ban must be lifted as this is freedom of expression… This must be part of the public discourse,” he added.

Sibal said: “Sriramulu should be disqualified from contesting the election and that there should be no election in his constituency as he has been involved in bribery.”

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“A day before the retirement of the CJI, an order was given favourable to Sriramulu and Reddy brothers,” he added.

Sibal also said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was spreading hatred among voters in Karnataka by putting up promos in Rajeev Chandrashekhar channel.

“On the social media, the Congress flag is being circulated along with the Pakistani flag. This itself is the worst form of communal campaigning. We have urged the EC to take action against it,” he added.



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