Sitting Congress MLA and 2018 assembly election candidate for Bengaluru's Rajarajeshwarinagar constituency Munirathna Naidu has been booked by the Election Commission for trying to distribute freebies worth Rs 90 lakh.
In the FIR copy accessed by Republic TV, Munirathna and five others have been named as accused. Specifics of the freebies to be distributed, as well as their value has been listed. It comprises 5018 t-shirts with Munirathna's photo and 23,393 half pants of different colours.
Here's the FIR copy:
Munirathna emerged at the very center of the biggest scandal of this election which involved the shocking recovery of almost 10,000 genuine voter ID cards and other suspicious materials at an apartment in Rajarajeshwarinagar on Tuesday.
At that time, both Congress and BJP high-commands had held late night briefings and counter-briefings where they tried to pin the blame for the operation on each other. Munirathna's name had cropped up early when two former Karnataka chief ministers, Yeddyurappa and Sadananda Gowda had tweeted about the matter.
On Wednesday, Republic TV's #BribeForVotes expose had revealed that the recovered voter IDs were part of a systematic plot where economically vulnerable sections in the area were profiled and their 'needs' ascertained. They were to be repayed (bribed) in cash or in kind upon voting for a specific candidate in the May 12 polls.
Republic TV stung a tout who was involved in collecting the voter IDs who admitted to doing so at Munirathna's behest, and Munirathna himself admitted that his cards and pamphlets were found in the flat along with the voter IDs, visual evidence of which has been accessed.
The BJP had demanded the elections in Rajarajeshwarinagar be countermanded:
The Congress has continuously alleged that it was the BJP that was collecting the voter ID cards citing that the apartment in question was a BJP corporator. However, Manjula Nanjamari, the flat owner said while speaking to Republic TV that she had no knowledge of the operation that was ongoing and wasn't connected to the BJP for the last six years.