Karnataka Minister Nagendra quits over ST Corporation scam in setback to Congress govt

B Nagendra
B Nagendra

Bengaluru | Karnataka Minister B Nagendra, facing allegations in connection with an illegal money transfer case involving a state-run corporation, on Thursday announced his decision to resign from the Ministry, in a setback to the one-year-old Siddaramaiah-led Congress government.

The Scheduled Tribes Welfare Minister said he will be tendering his resignation letter to the Chief Minister at 7:30 pm today.

"No one pressured me to resign. With my conscience and to ensure that people are not misled (about me). I have voluntarily... (decided to resign). I have sought the Chief Minister's time, he has asked me to come at 7:30 pm. I have not yet told him that I will resign. At 7:30 pm I will go and resign as a Minister," the 52-year-old four-time MLA said.

Speaking to reporters here, Nagendra, also the Youth Empowerment and Sports Minister, said he doesn't want to cause embarrassment, to the Chief Minister or Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar or party national President M Mallikarjun Kharge.

"With my own free will, I'm resigning...SIT is probing the case, there should be a fair probe. If I'm in the Minister post during the probe it may cause problems. Considering this, I have come to this decision (to resign)," the Bellary Rural MLA said, as he termed the charges against him as baseless. He said he will come out as "innocent".

The illegal money transfer issue, involving Karnataka Maharshi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation Ltd, came to light, after its accounts superintendent, Chandrashekhar P, died by suicide on May 26, leaving behind a death note.

The note revealed the unauthorised transfer of Rs 187 crore belonging to the state-run Corporation from its bank account, and from that, Rs 88.62 crore was illegally moved to various accounts allegedly belonging to "well-known" IT companies and a Hyderabad-based cooperative bank.

Chandrashekhar has named the Corporation's now-suspended Managing Director J G Padmanabh, accounts officer Parashuram G Durugannavar, and Union Bank of India Chief Manager Suchismita Rawal in the note, while also stating that the "Minister" had issued oral orders for transferring the funds.

Earlier in the day, Shivakumar, also state Congress chief, said "Not wanting to embarrass the party, he (Nagendra) voluntarily came forward and has resigned. We did not ask him to resign. We had a discussion with him."

"We too had discussions with several people, no Minister will show courage to misappropriate such a huge amount of money. It is not easy," he added.

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