The rumblings over the audio tape released by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy continued to echo in the Karnataka Assembly on Tuesday with the focus of the debate shifting from the contents of the tape to the investigation over it.
The proceedings resumed on Tuesday with BJP MLAs urging Speaker Ramesh Kumar to reconsider his decision to order a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the contents of the audio tape. "Investigation cannot be through government or uniformed agencies. Only court can consider the matter. Once you give courts the responsibility, it will be under the jurisdiction of the courts and judicial system," BJP MLA JC Madhuswamy said.
The MLA from Chikkanayakanhalli in Tumakuru further added that there was no reason to continue discussing the tape in the Assembly. "MLAs from the entire state are here and are saying that they cannot take you into confidence so there is no need to further this drama according to me. Yes, mistakes have been made and we accept it but please, as a personal friend of yours, I request you to let this go. Whatever has happened has happened. If you have to do something, you have to give the case to privilege committee under your supervision but by going to an outside agency, you are blocking the investigation," he said.
Several other BJP leaders including B Sriramulu, KG Bopaiah backed up Madhuswamy's words that a House Committee probe or a judicial probe into the issue would be better than a probe by the SIT.
However, Speaker Ramesh Kumar, who has been mentioned in the audio tape in question, declined the request saying that a judicial enquiry would delay the process.
Later in the day, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's speech in the Assembly was cut short by an uproar of protest by BJP MLAs. "The question that arises from this is not whether there should be an SIT probe or a judicial probe into the tape. When did MLAs go on sale in this state? They (BJP) say they don’t have confidence in me and my government. But in Mumbai...", he said when BJP MLAs accused him of deviating from the topic of discussion.
The Assembly was quickly adjourned for 15 minutes after the voices of protest refused to die down.
In an interview with News18 earlier in the day, Speaker Ramesh Kumar claimed that the person in the audio tape was someone who had previously involved in 'horse trading' of MLAs in the past. "I have prima facie concluded that it must be one of the people previously involved in getting MLAs to resign. But I also get the feeling that he (the voice on the audio clip) must be a member of the House," he said in the interview.
This is the second straight day the contents of the audio was the topic of discussion in the Karnataka Assembly. On the Speaker's advice, CM Kumaraswamy had ordered an SIT probe over the tape on Monday.
The audio, released on Friday hours before the budget, was allegedly a conversation where BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa attempts to lure Sharanagouda Kandkur, the son of Gurmitkal MLA Naganagouda Kandkur with money, an election ticket and a ministerial post. The voice purported to be Yeddyurappa also alleges that the Speaker had been booked for Rs 50 crore.