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Controversy over Siddaramaiah’s watch

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Bengaluru :With various political parties cornering Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah over a luxurious watch gifted to him, Congress MLC V S Ugrappa today gave various options before him including to declare it as state asset.

“The Karnataka Chief Minister has three options before him – he can give back it (the Rs 70 lakh diamond-studded Hublot watch) gifted by someone to him or he can declare it as a state asset or conduct an auction,” Ugrappa told PTI here, after opposition BJP filed a complaint with Enforcement Directorate seeking a probe into its origin.

“Siddaramaiah can do what former Chief Ministers S Nijalingappa and D Devaraja Urs did – they declared their expensive gifts as state assets. This is what Siddaramaiah could do or go for an auction,” he said.

Earlier, state BJP president and MP Prahalad Joshi had told media that he had asked Enforcement Directorate for a probe to find out who the owner of the watch was and whether customs duty had been paid to import the watch into India.

Former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy fuelled the controversy by putting a price tag on the watch and said he had a proof of who gifted the CM the expensive watch.

Kumaraswamy also targeted Siddaramaiah for flaunting expensive gifts despite boasting of being a socialist.

He also had asked Siddaramaiah to clarify if he had abandoned socialism and embraced luxury after joining Congress.

A complaint has already been filed by a city-based activist S Bhaskaran with the state Lokayukta on the issue.

Bhaskaran has also sought Siddaramaiah’s prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act for accepting the expensive gift and not declaring it before appropriate authorities.

Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah said that he would react to the issue at an appropriate time. “It is not the time to talk about it now. It is also not required. I will react at an appropriate time,” he said.

PTI

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