Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai denied being in the know of cash envelopes being distributed in the guise of Diwali hampers as alleged. The BJP government in Karnataka courted a major controversy when the allegations about an official from CMO approaching the print and electronic media persons with cash bribes ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh as Diwali gifts. At least three journalists came forward to confirm that they had received the hampers.
A senior journalist said this has happened for the first time in his long career. He said he discovered cash in the hamper kept on his desk on the earlier evening. He said he did not count it and made sure it was returned. The Journalist has said he has written to the Chief Minister expressing his dissatisfaction about the incident.
It is reported that the money differed for chief reporters and editorial heads ranging from Rs 1 lakh and Rs 3 lakh. The exact number of cash hampers distributed is not known. Some journalists said that they have not received the hamper themselves, but knew of others who had.
The Karnataka Congress was quick to question the Chief Minister over the allegations. They tweeted: “It is known that a journalist has upheld journalism by returning a Rs 2.5 lakh bribe given by the Chief Minister’s office. This incident is proof that Karnataka journalists will not allow the sanctity of journalism to be threatened. The Chief Minister must answer why journalists were given a bribe,”
A local organization Janaadhikara Sangharsha Parishat also lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta to investigate the bribe claims under the Prevention of Corruption Act.