BJP shows Karnataka CM’s pic with ‘declared absconder’, he rebuts charge

Bengaluru: With just five days left for assembly elections in Karnataka, the BJP on Sunday attacked state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah over what the party called his meeting with two “declared absconders” wanted for financial fraud, including a person called Vijay Eswaran at the World Economic Forum meeting in China in 2013.

The two men were declared absconders by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in 2009 and yet the chief minister met them during his visit to a summit in China, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters in Bengaluru.

"In September 2013, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah went to attend a WEF (World Economic Forum) meeting in China and met two men declared absconders in 2009. The SFIO has called them national threat. Lakhs of crores have been duped by them. There was also a gift package handed over to Siddaramaiah," alleged Sambit Patra.

Sambit Patra wondered if the gift received from Eshawaran was a premium Rs 70 lakh worth Hublot watch.

The BJP also posed several questions to the chief minister, including whether he knew Vijay Eswaran and if the latter is not a declared offender.

Sambit Patra also sought to know if Siddaramaiah had met Eswaran in China and whether he had asked him to invest in Karnataka.

"What was the gift he gave you? Was it a premium Hublot watch?" the BJP spokesperson sought to know from the Karnataka Chief Minister.

The chief minister rubbished all allegations levelled against him, saying he had addressed an investors' summit in China in 2013 and had met many people.

"I cannot recall who all I met. I went to the investor summit in 2013. Why is the BJP raising it now?" Siddaramaih told NDTV.

Categorically denying any knowledge about knowing Vijay Eswaran or receiving any gift from him, the Chief Minister hit back at the BJP-led central government.

"If there is any case against someone who has escaped from India, it's the Government of India that has to take action," said Siddaramaiah.

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