Bengaluru: Former Karnataka Minister K J George was reinducted into the Siddaramaiah ministry on Monday, close on the heels of being given a clean chit by the CID in a case related to the alleged suicide of a Deputy Superintendent of Police.
George, a close confidant of the Chief Minister, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Vajubhai Vala at a ceremony held in Raj Bhavan.
George had resigned on July 18, soon after a court in Madikeri in Kodagu district directed police to register an FIR against him and two police officers in connection with the suicide of 51-year-old M K Ganapathy.
Ganapathy was found hanging from a ceiling fan in a room at a lodge in Madikeri on July 7, prior to which he gave an interview to a local TV channel saying the Minister and AM Prasad (now Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety) and Pranab Mohanty (now on central deputation as Additional Deputy Director General of UIDAI) would be responsible “if anything happens to me.”
The court had issued directions based on a private criminal complaint by Ganapathy’s son, Nehal, requesting it to direct police to take up investigation against the minister and the officers for allegedly abetting his father’s suicide.
Karnataka CID, which investigated the case, on September 17 gave a clean chit to George and two senior police officers in its ‘B’ report, filed in a court in Madikeri.
George is likely to retain Bengaluru Development and Town Planning portfolio, which he had held when he stepped down amid a huge political storm in the state with the Opposition gunning for him. He had also held the Home portfolio earlier.
With the reinduction of George, the strength of the Siddaramaiah ministry now stands at 34, the maximum constitutional limit for the state.
Siddaramaiah, his cabinet colleagues, Congress legislators and senior government officials were present at the swearing-in. Both opposition parties BJP and JD(S) have taken exception to the reinduction of George.
Earlier this month, Siddaramaiah on September 5 had expanded his Cabinet by inducting M Krishnappa into his Ministry.
In a major revamp of his ministry on June 20, the Chief Minister had sacked 14 ministers and inducted 13 members into his Council of Ministry which had led to discontent within the Congress with several senior leaders openly coming out against the party’s state leadership.
Ahead of the CID filing its report in the Madikeri court, Ganapathy’s father and brother had moved the High Court, seeking a CBI probe into his death for a free, fair and impartial investigation which they said “could not be expected from the CID”.
Ganapathy’s father M K Kushalappa and brother M K Machaiah, who suspected foul play in the death of the police officer, had contended that CID was likely to close the probe with a “B” report by giving a “clean chit” to George and the two police officials.