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Last Updated : Jan 21, 2019 11:02 AM IST | Source: PTI

Reports claim Siddaramaiah 'gifted' Mercedes-Benz car, Congress denies

The car claimed to be worth over Rs 1.5 crore was allegedly "gifted" by Byrathi Suresh, an agriculturist-cum industrialist and a realtor who is one of the richest politicians in Karnataka.

Amid the political turbulence in Karnataka, former chief minister and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah found himself in a fresh controversy after media reports emerged that he had been "gifted" a Mercedes-Benz car by his party legislator.

The car claimed to be worth over Rs 1.5 crore was allegedly "gifted" by Byrathi Suresh, an agriculturist-cum industrialist and a realtor who is one of the richest politicians in Karnataka. Suresh had declared assets of Rs 416 crore in the affidavit filed by him for the 2017 May assembly polls.

Latching on to the reports, the state BJP questioned Siddaramaiah and accused him of having "made enough and more money" during his "10 percent government".

The 10 percent barb refers to alleged commission that the party claimed used to be paid during Siddaramaiah's chief ministership. "Congress MLA Byrathi Suresh gifts Sri @siddaramaiah a Mercedes-Benz car worth 1.5 crore. Wears spectacle costing 2 Lakh. Wore 80 lakh worth hublot watch.

Siddaramaiah vere looks like you have made enough & more money during your 10% govt, " the state BJP tweeted. Refuting media reports, Congress leader and minister D K Shivakumar said Siddaramaiah has not been gifted the car by Suresh, but given for his traveling purposes. "There is no gift or anything. We sometimes take our friends' vehicle to travel. There is no issue. Is there any record that he has received a gift or anything? Nothing, no record," he said.

In June 2018 also, Siddaramaiah was at the vortex of controversy after the then minister K J George allegedly gifted him Toyota Land Cruiser with fuel coupons for a year. George, then, had deflected the charges by saying that he had lent the vehicle as Siddaramaiah was uncomfortable traveling long distances in his Innova car.

Earlier in February 2016, Siddaramaiah had been mired in controversy over a Rs 70 lakh worth diamond-studded Hublot watch gifted to him.

Siddaramaiah later handed over the watch to the then assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa amid an uproar in the House, declaring it a state asset.

Both opposition BJP and JDS members had staged a dharna in the well of the House then. Countering the allegations, Siddaramaiah had said the pre-owned "HUBLOT BIG BANG-301-M" wrist watch was presented to him by his Dubai-based NRI friend Dr Girish Chandra Varma in July last at Bengaluru as a personal gift.

Siddaramiah also said Varma had no official dealings with Government of Karnataka or its organisations.
First Published on Jan 21, 2019 11:00 am
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