In a significant development, the 42nd Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court in Bengaluru directed the city police to register a First Information Report (FIR) against Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and one BR Naidu for allegedly disseminating provocative and false statements on social media against former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and his son, state BJP Chief Vijayendra Yediyurappa.
The order, issued on February 6th, dealt a blow to Shivakumar, who holds the position of state Congress party president and is widely regarded as one of the most powerful and wealthy politicians in Karnataka. The complaint leading to this directive was filed by Yogendra Hodaghatta, BJP Legal Cell Convenor and advocate, who alleged that the accused used a false document to create enmity between communities.
The charges against Shivakumar and Naidu include offences under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which pertains to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, and other relevant sections. The court has specifically directed the High Grounds police station in Central City to register the FIR, and the police are expected to submit a report on the investigation by March 30.
The complaint outlined that the social media team of the Karnataka Congress, led by Shivakumar, had allegedly spread fabricated statements with the intent to promote enmity and tarnish the image of BJP leaders, particularly targeting BY Vijayendra. The court’s decision adds to the political tension in the state, where Shivakumar has been manoeuvring to strengthen his position and is rumoured to be eyeing the Chief Minister’s post.
This development comes in the wake of the BJP launching the ‘I’m also a Karsevak, Arrest Me Too’ campaign, initiated after the arrest of Srikanth Poojari, a Karsevak from Hubballi, for his alleged involvement in the riots following the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. In response, the state Congress, through its social media pages, posted content featuring a photo of BY Vijayendra holding a placard that reads, “I have taken a bribe of Rs 40,000 crore through RTGS, arrest me.” This exchange on social media further heightened the political tensions between the two parties.
In a related legal matter, in November of the previous year, Shivakumar filed a memo seeking to withdraw his appeal against the previous BJP government’s sanction for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate a Rs 74 crore corruption case against him. The Karnataka High Court disposed of the appeal as withdrawn, citing the Congress cabinet’s decision to withdraw the 2019 BJP government’s consent to the CBI investigating the corruption case against Shivakumar.
In January of the current year, the CBI moved to the Karnataka High Court after the state government dropped the CBI case against Shivakumar. The Magistrate Court’s recent order to file an FIR against the Deputy Chief Minister adds another layer to the legal challenges faced by Shivakumar, intensifying the political landscape in Karnataka. The court’s decision to investigate the allegations against Shivakumar and Naidu signifies a crucial chapter in the ongoing political drama unfolding in the state.