Karnataka minister accused of seeking Rs 1cr bribe alleges conspiracy

A day after it belatedly came to light that a complaint has been lodged with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office (PMO) against Karnataka excise minister H Nagesh, accused of seeking a bribe of Rs one crore for a transfer, the minister said he was being targeted for being a Dalit.

In a letter written to the PMO, Sneha, the daughter of L N Mohan Kumar, the joint commissioner of excise department in Ballari, has alleged that the minister, through intermediaries, demanded a sum of Rs one crore for Kumar’s transfer to Bengaluru.

Sneha, in the letter to the PMO, said that her father was suffering due to ill-health and sought a transfer to Bengaluru, which had a vacancy in an equivalent position, for good medical treatment. However, the minister, through two aides– Manjunath and Harsha– demanded a sum of Rs one crore to sanction the transfer. She also said that in spite of bringing the issue to the notice of deputy CM Ashwath Narayan, no action was taken against the minister.

Responding to the letter written to the PMO, excise minister Nagesh claimed that Mohan Kumar had lost his mental balance and was making all kinds of false allegations. He also claimed that Sneha was a habitual complainant against authorities. “I completely deny these charges as they are baseless and false. I am being targeted because I am a Dalit,” the minister said on Tuesday.

Nagesh also said that he would file a defamation case against Kumar and his family members for allegedly making baseless charges. “I also have information that Kumar may have lost his mental balance. I believe this is nothing but a political conspiracy to finish off a scheduled caste leader,” he said.

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The official in question is said to have been forced to go on leave, though HT could not independently verify the same. Efforts to reach Kumar on his mobile were also unsuccessful. Opposition parties have alleged that more than 600 transfers have been done in the excise department in the last one month alone after taking bribes.

The Congress on Tuesday tweeted, “@BJP4Karnataka Minister

@HNageshMulbagal has been demanding 1 Cr for posting officials says a complaint to Supreme Leaders. Do you have it in you to remove him from Cabinet or is the PM @narendramodi’s slogan of “Na Khaunga, Na Khanedunga” just another of his many jhumlas.”

Nagesh was one of the two independent candidates who got elected in the May 2018 assembly polls. He initially joined hands with the Congress and the JDS and was made the minister for small scale industries in the H D Kumaraswamy led coalition government. Later, however, he switched sides and extended support to the BJP to form the government in the state.

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