Amid PSI scam tumult, BJP in a pickle over BSY supporter’s ‘audio clips’

At a time the Basavaraj Bommai-led government in Karnataka is trying to distance itself from a police sub-inspectors (PSI) recruitment scam, audio clips allegedly linking the BJP to the fraud have the party on the back foot. The person under the lens is Kanakagiri MLA Basavaraj Dhadesugur who is a staunch supporter of former chief minister BS Yediyurappa, popularly known as BSY, and has a penchant for controversy.

In one audio clip, a person believed to be Dhadesugur is heard talking to a man named Parasappa demanding that the MLA return the Rs 15 lakh paid to get his son recruited as a sub-inspector. The audio clip surfaced on social media on Tuesday and was also aired by some local television channels.

In the clip, the person believed to be Dhadesugur is heard admitting that he accepted the money and promised to return it. The person even went on to claim that he had forwarded the money to the government. Later, Dhadesugur told the media that he did not have the money and added that he only mediated between the aspirant and the “government”. However, he did not clarify what he meant by “government” and who received the Rs 15 lakh allegedly paid. He also claimed that “the audio clip has been misrepresented”.

After the alleged conversation became public, another audio clip went viral the following day. In it, the person believed to be Dhadesugur is heard pulling up a man said to be Parasappa for “leaking the audio”. “Have you planned a press meeting? Go ahead, let me see what will happen,” one person is heard saying. The other man in the conversation then denies that he was planning to call a press conference and added that he needed his money back.

The Indian Express could not independently verify the authenticity of the two clips.

Rise in politics

Dhadesugur joined Yediyurappa’s Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) in 2012 when the former CM launched the outfit after rebelling against the BJP. He followed Yediyurappa to the BJP the following year.

The MLA is from Raichur and belongs to a family of agriculturists. His father Durugappa was a six-time member of the Dhadesugur gram panchayat and served as its vice president. His mother was also twice elected a panchayat member. After joining the KJP, he unsuccessfully contested the 2013 Assembly polls. He was elected to the Assembly in the last polls from Kanakagiri, which is a constituency reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC).

The MLA has been at the centre of controversy in the past too. In 2019, when the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government was about to collapse — as many Congress MLAs were switching sides — JD(S) leaders allegedly tried to get Dhadesugur to defect. In January this year, an audio clip went viral in which a woman was heard accusing the MLA of harassing her. Later, Dhadesugur clarified that the woman was a relative and that issues with her would be resolved within the family.

A local BJP worker who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Dhadesugur was gradually losing the trust of BJP workers in Kanakagiri. “He is not available for meetings and does not participate in party events. This has disappointed local workers. But now, things have changed as this is an election year.”

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