BENGALURU: The Congress has demanded a judicial inquiry into allegations that some senior journalists were given "cash gifts" along with Deepavali sweet boxes.
"The #40PercentSarkar seeks to bribe the journalists with ?1 Lakh cash! Will Mr. Bommai answer- 1. Isn't it "bribe" being offered by CM? 2. What is the source of ?1,00,000? Has it come from Public Exchequer or from CM himself? 3. Will ED/IT take note?", the Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.
The Karnataka Congress demanded a judicial probe into what it called "Chief Minister's Office (CMO) 'sweet box bribe' to journalists.
"The people of the State should know how much money was given as bribe, how much was received, how much was returned," the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee said.
Meanwhile, a non-government organisation Janaadhikara Sanghasha Parishath (JSP) lodged a complaint with the Karnataka Lokayukta against the Chief Minister alleging that he paid a bribe to the journalists in the guise of Deepavali gift.
The complainants R Adarsh Iyer, Prakash Babu B K and Vishwanath V B of the JSP said chief reporters of several media houses were paid bribe by the CM through his close aide.
The complainant said the chief reporters of an English daily and a Kannada daily were paid Rs one lakh each in sweet boxes. The two reported to their higher-ups in the organisation who directed them to return the money.
A chief reporter, who refused the cash, wrote a letter to Bommai "expressing his strong condemnation, annoyance and displeasure about the payment of bribe."
"This payment of money as part of Deepavali gift in a sweet box amounts to serious allegations of bribery to gain undue advantage in hiding and hushing up various other allegations being published/broadcast against the government led by the Chief Minister of Karnataka. This amounts to unethical and immoral usage of money," the office bearers of JSP said.
The JSP demanded that the Lokayukta police file a criminal case against the Chief Minister and his aide under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Sources in the CMO said Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has said he was unaware that cash was given.