Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday strongly defended the induction of businessman Ashok Kheny into the Congress, saying he hasn't gone to jail like BJP chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa.
Kheny, the lone MLA of Karnataka Makkala Paksh, joined the Congress. He is the managing director of Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise Limited (NICE), the implementing agency of the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project that is facing allegations of irregularities.
Asked why the Congress was inducting "tainted leaders", Siddaramaiah said, "Kheny has not gone to jail."
The chief minister was taking a swipe at Yeddyurappa who was arrested and had to spend about three weeks in jail in October 2011 in connection with a corruption case. It had cost Yeddyurappa his chief ministership following indictment by the then Lok Ayukta Santosh Hegde. However, he was acquitted in 2016.
Siddaramaiah said that Anand Singh, a BJP MLA inducted into the Congress last month, has gone to jail, but the Congress has not announced him as its CM face.
Singh is an accused in several cases of illegal mining.
Union Minister and BJP's in-charge for Karnataka Assembly polls Prakash Javadekar today alleged that Kheny's induction into the Congress proves the "corrupt character" of the party.
Siddaramaiah was in the national capital to hold discussions with Congress president Rahul Gandhi regarding three vacant Rajya Sabha seats from the state.
AICC General Secretary and Karnataka in-charge of the party KC Venugopal and KPCC President G Parameshwara were present at the meeting.