In a sensational clincher in the biggest controversy ahead of the critical Karnataka Assembly elections, a tout who was involved in the operation to bribe economically weaker sections for votes in Bengaluru's Rajarajeshwarinagar has admitted that she was working at the behest of the Congress candidate for the seat.
Following Republic TV's stunning #BribeForVotes expose revealing the full story of the almost 10,000 voter IDs that were recovered from an apartment in Rajarajeshwarinagar, the stung tout has confessed that she had given at least 50 voter ID cards which were taken by the BJP in the raid.
Republic TV: What happened yesterday?
Republic TV: In Rajarajeshwarinagar
Tout: Who are you?
Republic TV: I'm calling from office. Did they take away all the cards?
Tout: Who are you sir?
Republic TV: I'm calling from the head office
Tout: From head office?
Republic TV: Yes. How many cards have we lost?
Tout: To whom?
Republic TV: Have they taken away the voter ID cards given to you?
Republic TV: But how many cards have we lost?
Tout: How many? I've given at least 50 cards
Republic TV: You gave 50 cards?
Republic TV: Didn't Munirathna tell you anything after this happened?
Tout: No we didn't tell him. The BJP came to us and took it away
Republic TV: But you had collected these cards to give to Munirathna (Congress MLA and Rajarajeshwari candidate) right?
Tout: Yes we were on his side. We had collected it for him. They showed us money and cheques, so we kept them ready
Republic TV: Who told you they'll give money?
Republic TV: But you had kept them ready for Congress?
Earlier, Republic TV's #BribeForVotes expose had blown the lid off what appeared to be an attempt to systematically economically profile vulnerable sections in the area and determine their 'needs'. The voter IDs were collected from the surveyed persons and they were allegedly going to be given back to them on voting day (May 12). In exchange for the surveyed persons' votes, their pre-determined 'needs' would be fulfilled, sources said.
Touts operated door-to-door to profile their targets, something that the Karnataka Chief Election Officer also confirmed at his news briefing on Wednesday. Republic TV had also received visual evidence of a Congress leader's visiting card being found amid the voter IDs and other material at the apartment.
Late on Tuesday night, both BJP and Congress had held briefings and counter-briefings pinning the voter ID operation to each other. The news briefings continued on Wednesday and concentrated upon the ownership and current occupant of the apartment in question. The flat belongs to Manjula Nanjamari, a former BJP corporator, who, while speaking to Republic TV, denied any knowledge of the matter and said that she wasn't connected to either party. While the Congress has claimed that the flat's tenant is Rakesh, allegedly an estranged adopted son of Manjula Nanjamari, Rakesh, himself, has denied the claim. As per sources, the flat's tenant is a woman named Rekha who took up occupancy in the flat just a month ago for a rent of Rs. 16,000 per month.