The Congress party had suspended Roshan Baig in June for indulging in anti-party activities. He had openly criticised the party's state unit leaders for the loss in the Lok Sabha elections. He resigned from Assembly on July 10.
Rebel Congress MLA and former minister R Roshan Baig was detained at the Bengaluru airport on Monday night and prevented from boarding a chartered aircraft to an undisclosed location. Baig is an eight-time MLA and former minister in the previous Congress government. The Shivajinagar MLA had resigned from his Assembly membership on July 10. He was suspended by the party in June for indulging in anti-party activities.
In a statement issued late on Monday night, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) BR Ravikantha Gowda said that Baig has been detained for questioning at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) when he was about to take off in a private aircraft to an unconfirmed destination.
“We will verify if Baig’s sudden plan to leave Bengaluru has anything to do with the recent release of a video in Youtube by the multi-crore Ponzi scheme prime accused Mansoor Ali Khan,” Gowda who heads the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up to probe the Ponzi scheme in which about thousands of investors were allegedly cheated, told PTI.
The Congress party had suspended Baig in June for indulging in anti-party activities. He had openly criticised the party’s state unit leaders for the loss in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress and JD(S) won just two seats from Karnataka’s 28 seats quota. The rest seats were bagged by the BJP.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy confirmed that the SIT probing the multi-crore IMA Jewels ponzi scam detained Baig when he was about to board a chartered plane from the Bengaluru airport. He alleged that former BJP CM and senior leader BS Yeddyurappa’s personal assistant Santhosh was along with Baig when he was leaving.
“Today SIT probing the IMA case detained R Roshan Baig for questioning at the BIAL airport while he was trying to leave along with BS Yeddyurappa’s PA Santosh on a chartered flight to Mumbai,” he tweeted.
He added that on seeing the SIT, Santhosh ran away while the team detained Baig. The CM also claimed that BJP MLA Yogeshwar was present at the airport at the time.
“This clearly shows BJP’s direct involvement in destabilising the government through horse-trading,” he alleged.
Earlier in the day, Kumaraswamy presented Baig’s case to prove his point as he shared a document on Twitter showing that the plane was supposed to fly Baig as a passenger. The suspended Congress leader was supposed to appear before the SIT on Monday but he skipped, citing some important work and sought time till July 25. But the investigators asked Baig to depose on July 19 instead.
During police interrogation, ponzi scheme operator Mohammad Mansoor Khan had accused Baig of taking Rs 400 crore from him and not returning it, claim termed baseless and frivolous by Baig.
However, the BJP refuted the allegations and accused Kumaraswamy of using the state machinery to save his 13-month-old government.
“CM H D Kumaraswamy is using the state machinery to save his govt now. Roshan Baig was given time till 19th July to appear before SIT. This shows how the state government is blackmailing and treating their own MLAs’ using the institutions,” the Karnataka BJP said in a tweet.
The development comes at a time when the Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka is facing a crisis after 15 MLAs resigned from the House. The Congress and JD(S) leaders have been alleging the BJP’s involvement in pulling down the government. The BJP is the single largest party with 105 MLAs in the 224 Karnataka Legislative Assembly.