Disgruntled BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal on Tuesday warned that he would expose the alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore in the BJP government in Karnataka led by B S Yediyurappa at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic if he was expelled from the party.
Quickly responding to his statement, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Yatnal’s allegations about the irregularities that took place when Yediyurappa was the chief minister were proof of their charges that there was a ’40 per cent commission government’ in the state during the BJP rule. As many BJP leaders have been demanding action against him, Yatnal said, ”They (the BJP government in Karnataka) have done everything (huge corruption during Covid). Let them serve me a notice and try to expel me from the party, I will expose them.” Yatnal, who has launched a tirade against Yediyurappa and his family, especially after his second son B Y Vijayendra was made the BJP state president, said there was large-scale corruption in coronavirus management during the BJP government.
”A mask that costs Rs 45 each, Mr Yediyurappa how much did your government spend on each of them during Covid? They had put a price of Rs 485 for each mask…,” the agitated BJP MLA said in Vijayapura. ”They (BJP government) said they arranged 10,000 beds in Bengaluru. The rent for these beds…remember that it was taken only on rent…if they had purchased then two beds could have been bought (for the same price). They paid Rs 20,000 as rent per day. Two cots with saline stands could have been purchased with Rs 20,000. Do you know how much they spent a day during corona?” Yatnal further said.
When asked to release documents, Yatnal said the documents were available with the Public Accounts Committee. He asked reporters to speak to the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil, who was the chairman during the BJP rule. The Vijayapura MLA said he was also asked to be made chairman of the Public Accounts Committee but he said he would make everything public. Hence, he was not appointed.
”Do you know how many thousands of crores of rupees was looted in this (Covid)? There is Rs 40,000 crore irregularities during Covid-19 outbreak,” Yatnal claimed.
According to the MLA, bills worth Rs eight lakh to Rs 10 lakh were made for each patient during the BJP government. He said when he was hospitalised at a private superspecialty hospital, the bill was Rs 5.8 lakh. He said though he was entitled to get a medical claim from the government, he preferred to pay from his pocket. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Yatnal’s statement was proof of large-scale corruption during Covid time.
He said the Congress when in the opposition had called a press conference and alleged with documents that the Yediyurappa government had committed corruption to the tune of around Rs 4,000 crore in the name of coronavirus treatment and control.
However, going by Yatnal’s allegation, it seems that there has been ten times more corruption than the Congress party’s estimate.
Siddaramaiah appealed to Yatnal and said that his charges should not be like a hit-and-run case.
”If Yatnal is committed to eradicating corruption, he should carry their charges to their logical conclusion. For this, he should hand over all the information he has about corruption during the coronavirus pandemic to the commission of inquiry formed (by the Congress government) under the leadership of retired High Court Judge Justice Nagmohan Das,” the Chief Minister said. He also wondered why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was silent on these charges. PTI