Long-list of Scams and Scandals during BJPs Second Stint in Karnataka

Article provides a brief summary of the corruption and other scandals reported since the BJP came to power for the second time in Karnataka.

It was in 2008 that the BJP came to power in Karnataka for the first time ever in a South Indian state. ‘BJP – Party with a difference’ was its slogan back then. BJP indulged in horse trading as it bought MLAs from other parties in the name of ‘Operation Kamala’ and managed to form the government. BJP was able to do so by expending the wealth it had looted from illegal mining at Bellary and elsewhere thereby proving that it stood different from all other parties! After this, major corruption scandals hit the BJP including cases of land grabbing, de – notification, illegal mining, and collection of bribes through checks coming to the fore. When these corruptions saw the light, the then CM Yeddiyurappa and an influential Minister Gali Janardhana Reddy was imprisoned all of which is well-documented in Karnataka’s political history. It is important to note that Gali Janardhana Reddy is banned from entering Bellary even till date.

Gali Janardhana Reddy and CM Yeddiyurappa

The BJP came to power for the second time after toppling the Congress-JDS alliance, again, thanks to Operation Kamala. BJPs second stint in power too is mired in a series of corruption scandals.

Against this backdrop, BJP seems to have become synonymous with corruption. An attempt is made here to provide a brief summary of the corruption and other scandals reported since the BJP came to power for the second time here in Karnataka.

Super CM Vijayendra Service Tax

It was in July 2019, that 76-year-old BS Yeddyurappa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state for the fourth time. However, on many platforms, his own party members had accused that it was Yeddiyurappa’s son, Mr. B.Y. Vijayendra who acted as the real Chief Minister and hence was known as ‘Super CM’. The opposition parties accused him of fixing commission rates for each job and criticized it as Super CM Vijayendra’s service tax. He had been accused of receiving bribes amounting to crores from Ramalingam Construction Company in cash and through the routes of shell companies for awarding housing project (BDA) contracts. Power TV conducted a sting operation and reported on this issue continuously. The case is still under investigation.

3,667 acres of land sold to Jindal Steel Works

In 2019, the Congress-JDS coalition government had decided to sell 3,667 acres of land to Jindal Steel Works for a very low price and BJP which was in the opposition staged massive protests against the same. However, when the BJP came to power, it allotted the 3,667 acres of land to Jindal Steel Works in April 2021.

Corona scam

Health Minister of Karnataka Dr. Sudhakar was accused of corruption amounting to hundreds of crores of rupees in the purchase of medical supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, one of the largest Covid-care centers with 10,000 beds was built at the Exhibition Grounds in Bengaluru. Allegations were made that money was looted in the name of establishing Covid-care centers and that the facilities were only available on bills and not in reality. During the second wave of Corona, when Bengaluru was witnessing an acute shortage of hospital beds, the Covid care center was closed down thereby leaving many patients people without a hospital bed and proper treatment. It was reported that the BJP ministers and legislators themselves were involved in the bed-blocking scam and made thousands of crores illegally, amidst the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the sex tape scandal of Irrigation minister Mr. Ramesh Jarakiholi, in the BJP government came to light and he had to resign.

Reign and Ruins under Basavaraja Bommai

Finally, it was in the last week of July 2021 that the BJP high command removed BS Yeddiyurappa and appointed Basavaraja Bommai as the new CM. The BJP high command appointed Basavaraja Bommai, side-lining other aspirants as the chief minister to pacify the Lingayat community after it had removed BS Yeddiyurappa unceremoniously from the position. Rumors were rife that the change was made to curb rampant corruption under Yeddiyurappa’s rule and his son Vijayendra’s interference in governance. However, after Basavaraja Bommai was appointed as the chief minister, the allegations of corruption only increased.

40% Commission Govt


Karnataka’s BJP government has been demanding 40% commission on all works and therefore the quality of works is being compromised alleged D. Kempanna, President of Karnataka Contractors Association. He wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that all the ministers and legislators were involved in this and therefore unable to do quality work. While it is a well-known fact contractors work hand-in-hand with the party in power, it was probably for the first time ever that the contractors have alleged corruption charges against a government. However, having received no reply from the Prime Minister’s office, he held a press conference and denounced the commission scam of the BJP government.

Bitcoin Scam

Within three months of Basavaraja Bommai taking charge as the chief minister of the state, his name was heard as the prime accused in the Bitcoin scam. While he continued to issue statement after statement that it was the ‘Handiwork of Congressmen’, an impartial investigation was not initiated. Later, a hacker named Sriki was arrested. Interestingly is that it was people associated with the BJP itself who had leaked information about this Bitcoin scam!

Contractor Santosh Patil commits suicide – Eshwarappa resigns

Santhosh Patil, a BJP activist, and contractor from Belgaum, who had accused Eshwarappa of demanding 40% commission committed suicide mysteriously on April 12, 2022, at a lodge in Udupi. He had alleged that ‘work worth crores of rupees had been undertaken without a work order, but the minister is not passing the bill’. Later, KS Eshwarappa was made an accused in the case. Then, the Rural Development Minister had to tender his resignation. Even though the BJP government investigated the issue and submitted a B-report stating that KS Eshwarappa was free of all charges, 40% of the commission charges were there to stay!

30% commission in the grants allotted to mathas?!

Shirahatti Jagadguru Fakir Dingaleshwar Swamiji raised objections that “Corruption has become so deep-rooted in the state that even the mathas (monasteries) must pay a commission of 30% to be able to get grants allotted by the government”.

PayCM posters were seen all over bangalore

The Congress party had run the Pay CM campaign to put the government in a quandary. Pay CM posters with the messages “Forty percent accepted here”, and “Scan this QR code to pay for Chief Minister’s corruption” designed much like the PayTM QR Codes suddenly appeared in Bengaluru, catching suddenly the attention of both, the public and media. It created a huge embarrassment for the BJP government.

The PSI scam

The PSI scandal came to light right after Santosh Patil’s suicide. In the process of recruitment for 545 PSI posts held in October 2021, illegality was alleged as bribes amounting to crores were taken from some candidates. Candidates who attempted only 21 questions were allotted 100 marks! There were allegations that blank OMR sheets were filled-up after the examination had ended. The kingpin of this scam was Divya Hagargi, a BJP leader from Kalaburagi was arrested. Photos of her with Home Minister Araga Gnanendra and Higher Education Minister Dr. Ashwath Narayan Gowda also went viral on the internet. Another person accused in the scam, Mr. Rudragowda Patil is trying for a BJP ticket in one of the constituencies for the upcoming elections.

Voter list scam

Chilume, an organization with the political and financial support of BJP Ministers and MLAs, removed the names of 27 lakh voters from the voters list from across the state in the name of voter awareness. Most of the voters whose names were removed from the electoral rolls belonged to the Muslim community.

In Bengaluru alone, the names of 6.69 lakh voters were deleted. Not only that, a political survey was conducted in 243 wards of Bangalore after fake ID cards of Booth Level Officers were made. Personal data of lakhs of voters was collected. The News Minute and Pratidhwani media had conducted a sting operation and exposed this fake network. Civil society took up the issue seriously and the citizenry was left in a panic as they were unsure whether their data too was compromised and whether their names were removed from the voter’s list. The Election Commission is currently investigating the case.

Santro Ravi Case

Santro Ravi, who was running a prostitution network to politicians and officials, had shifted out to deal with transfers when the BJP government came to power. An audio clip where he was lashing out at a DySP “The chief minister himself addresses me as Sir, you are a DySP after all” had gone viral.  Santro Ravi, who claimed that he could get any transfer done irrespective of the level and region the post falls in had used the Government Kumarakrupa Guest House as his office. His photos with CM Basavaraja Bommai’s son, Home Minister Araga Gyanendra, and Education Minister BC Nagesh were widely circulated on the internet. He is currently languishing in jail.

Virupakshappa Madal’s son Prashant Madal was caught by the Lokayukta while receiving a bribe of 40 lakh rupees

In March 2023, BJP MLA Virupakshappa Madal’s son Prashant Madal was caught by the Lokayukta while receiving a bribe of 40 lakh rupees in connection with the award of a tender for the supply of perfumery items to KSDL. Virupakshappa also happens to be the Chairperson of KSDL (Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited). An FIR has been registered against them and this incident has only strengthened the allegation that the BJP government is a 40% commission government. Against this backdrop, BJP seems to have become synonymous with corruption. An attempt is made here to provide a brief summary of the corruption and other scandals reported since the BJP came to power for the second time here in Karnataka.

Not only this, the government had faced opposition for having demanded 50% commission saying that it would teach Vedic Maths. Allegations of Rs 430 crore illegality have been heard in the Ganga Kalyan Yojana. CM Basavaraja Bommai’s name has appeared again in the molasses scam and the list just continues. On the other hand, rowdy sheeters like Silent Sunil and Fighter Ravi are joining the BJP party. Overall, this government has thrived on scandals and scams.

While this is the story of the state government, the BJP at the center is involved in yet another kind of corruption. It is facing allegations of favoring hundreds of businessmen through its policies and receiving thousands of crores of rupees through election bonds as kickbacks. The government is silent on the allegations that it is lending loans to corrupt businessmen like Adani and selling profit-making public institutions for paltry prices. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most famous slogan “Na Khaunga, Na Khane Doonga” saying that the slogan seems to have been about Beef. For the people of Karnataka who have witnessed a long series of corruption scandals under the BJP government, Tharoor’s words remain not just sarcastic.

(The author is a journalist with naanugauri.com. It was translated into English by Shashank SR)


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April 2024


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