Written byShalini Ojha ·
In what marks as a new twist in the drama of Karnataka politics, a rebel Congress MLA was on Monday detained at Bengaluru airport whilst he was allegedly on his way to Mumbai to join other disgruntled legislators.
Roshan Baig, who was suspended by Congress, was stopped by sleuths from boarding a special flight in connection to the multi-crore IMA Ponzi scam.
Baig, an eight-time MLA, was a minister in the former Congress government. He was suspended in June, for indulging in anti-party activities. He resigned from Assembly membership on July 10.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) BR Ravikantha Gowda said Baig was scheduled to jet off to an undisclosed location.
Notably, Gowda heads the SIT formed to probe Ponzi scheme, in which hundreds were duped.
"We will verify if Baig's sudden plan to leave Bengaluru has anything to do with the recent release of a video in Youtube by the multi-crore Ponzi scheme prime accused Mansoor Ali Khan," Gowda said.
Baig was detained on the same day when Khan said he would return to India within 24 hours.
Separately, Khan maintained that he had faith in Indian judiciary.
"I will return to India in next 24 hours, I have full faith in the Indian judiciary. First of all, leaving India was a big mistake, but circumstances were such that I had to leave. I don't even know where my family is," Khan said.
After Baig was arrested, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy informed about it on Twitter.
"Today SIT probing the IMA case detained Roshan Baig for questioning at the BIAL airport while he was trying to leave along with BS Yeddyurappa's PA Santhosh on a chartered flight to Mumbai," the JD(S) leader tweeted.
He also claimed that Santhosh "ran away" when he saw Baig was apprehended.
BJP's Yogeshwar was present at the time there.Its a shame that @BJP4Karnataka is helping a former minister escape, who is facing a probe in the #IMA case. This clearly shows #BJP' s direct involvement in destabilizing the govt through horse trading.2/2@INCIndia @INCKarnataka— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) July 16, 2019
Accused by Kumaraswamy of attempting to destabilize the coalition, the Karnataka unit of BJP shot back.
In a tweet, the saffron party claimed Kumaraswamy was peddling lies as Santhosh wasn't traveling with Baig.
"It was only Mr. Baig who was travelling & their was no 2nd passenger. We demand to check boarding passes & CCTV footage to put out the facts, (sic)" tweeted BJP.
CM @hd_kumaraswamy is using the state machinery to save his govt now. Mr. Roshan Baig was given time till 19th July to appear before SIT. This shows how the state Govt is blackmailing and treating their own MLAs’ using the institutions. pic.twitter.com/m3u09OFRkD— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) July 15, 2019
Baig's arrest comes at a time when the Congress-JD(S) government is struggling to survive in the state.
The resignations of 18 MLAs spelled trouble for Kumaraswamy's government, with the only breather being the fact that speaker KR Ramesh hasn't accepted their resignation letters.
If the resignations are accepted, the coalition will lose its majority, making way for BJP to form the government.
After Ramesh didn't accept the resignations, ten rebel MLAs approached the Supreme Court.
The top court directed Ramesh to take a call on resignations by Thursday, but he didn't, saying he needs to "study them".
Though SC was miffed, it gave Ramesh time till Tuesday to decide on the resignations or disqualifications of the MLAs. The important hearing will start shortly.
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