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SC refuses to hear plea on Yediyurappa leaked audio clip

A leaked audio tape allegedly shows Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa "poaching" MLAs to overthrow the JD(S)-Congress coalition regime. But the SC refused to hear Congress' plea, saying it wasn't necessary to allow another round of arguments.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Nov 06, 2019, 10.31 AM IST|Original: Nov 06, 2019, 10.31 AM IST
Yediyurappa ANI
BENGALURU: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a submission by the Congress on a leaked audio tape purportedly with the voice of Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa, which the party insisted was proof enough to show the BJP “poached” MLAs to overthrow the Janata Dal(S)-Congress coalition regime.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal urged the court to examine the new piece of audio evidence the Congress has submitted. A three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana, however, said it was not necessary to allow another round of arguments over the audio tapes when the court was in the process of writing the judgement. Senior advocate Rajiv Dhawan, appearing for the JD(S), also requested the court to examine the audio in view of its importance.

The court will look into the audio evidence at the time of judgement, Justice Ramana said.

The apex court is expected to pronounce the judgement in the case of the disqualification of 17 MLAs in the next couple of days, as the Election Commission is scheduled to notify the December 5 byelection schedule on November 11. The judgement will decide the fate of 14 Congress and three JD(S) MLAs who resigned their Assembly membership leading to the collapse of the then JD(S)-Congress government in July, paving the way for Yediyurappa to install the BJP regime.

The disqualified lawmakers have challenged previous Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s order rejecting their resignation letters, and instead, disqualifying them from the Assembly membership on grounds that their act came within the purview of anti-defection law. He also barred them from contesting polls till 2023 when the term of the current Assembly expires.

They can seek re-election to the Assembly on a party ticket of their choice only if the apex court order goes in their favour. The BJP, especially Yediyurappa, is nervously waiting for the judgement in view of a rebellion within the BJP against giving tickets to the disqualified lawmakers to contest the bypolls. In the purported voice recording of the CM, the voice could be heard saying that the current government had been possible only due to the sacrifice of the 17 MLAs.

The Election Commission is holding polls only to 15 seats, as last year’s elections related to two other constituencies are a subject matter of litigation.

Even though the BJP has sought to point an accusatory finger at the Congress, blaming it for trying to create confusion by producing a “doctored” audio before the apex court, the party is conducting an investigation internally to identify the person who recorded and leaked the audio.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah, in a tweet on Tuesday, said that BJP insiders had leaked the audio to malign Yediyurappa’s image and to get him to resign as the chief minister. The BJP core committee consists also of people who don't like the CM, he said.
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