Bengaluru, Jul 16, 2019 : Congress legislator R Roshan Baig was detained on Monday at the international airport in Bengaluru while boarding a plane after the special investigation team probing the IMA ponzi scam claimed he was trying to run away, Hindustan Times reported.
Baig is one of 16 MLAs of the Congress-Janata Dal(Secular) coalition government who resigned as legislators between July 1 and 10. He was also suspended last month from the Congress after he called the party’s general secretary KC Venugopal a buffoon after the Lok Sabha results were announced.
The resignations, and the withdrawal of support by two Independent MLAs, pushed the coalition government to the brink and as a result, chief minister Kumaraswamy volunteered to a floor test on Friday when the monsoon session of the assembly began.
As the news broke, HD Kumaraswamy took to Twitter to claim that Baig was about to travel on a chartered flight along with former chief minister and the BJP’s state president BS Yeddyurappa’s assistant Santosh.
Kumaraswamy said that this was part of a conspiracy by the Bharatiya Janata Party to destabilise the coalition government, which is set for a floor test on Thursday.
“Today SIT probing the IMA case detained Roshan Baig for questioning at the [KIAL] airport while he was trying to leave along with BS Yeddyurappa’s PA Santhosh on a chartered flight to Mumbai. I was told that on seeing the SIT, Santhosh ran away while the team apprehended Mr Baig,” Kumaraswamy tweeted along with the photo of the plane’s manifest, which listed Baig and Santosh as the passengers.
He added that former MLA CP Yogeshwar was present as well.
“It’s a shame that the BJP is helping a former minister escape, who is facing a probe in the IMA case. This clearly shows BJP’s direct involvement in destabilising the government through horse trading.”
The BJP’s social media team responded to the chief minister’s allegation claiming that he was misusing the state machinery.
“CM HD Kumaraswamy is using the state machinery to save his government 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,” it said.
It also said that Kumaraswamy’s claim that Santosh was set to travel on the flight was false.
“It is false that @BSYBJP’s PA Santhosh was travelling along with Mr. Baig. CM is peddling fake news & misleading the state. It was only Mr. Baig who was travelling & their was no 2nd passenger. We demand to check boarding passes & CCTV footage to put out the facts (sic).”
A senior official of the SIT said the team was worried that Baig was trying to run away. He was served a second notice to appear before the team by July 19 on Monday.
“We are still questioning Baig and he is cooperating well,” an official of the SIT said.
Baig’s name cropped up in the IMA scandal after its founder Mohammed Mansoor Khan said in an audio clip released last month that the politician had failed to repay Rs 400 crore he had borrowed from the company and allegation that Baig had rubbished.
Khan, who fled the country, said on Monday he would return if he was provided assurances about his safety.
“I will return to India in the next 24 hours, I have full faith in the Indian judiciary,” he said.
He added it was a mistake for him to have left the country, but that he did so under the circumstances. Over 42,000 investors in the Islamic financial firm have filed complaints of cheating so far.