Basavaraj Rayareddy has accused Ashwath Narayan of corruption in connection to the laptop scam.
Basavaraj Rayareddy, the Vice President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), called for a judicial or Lokayukta enquiry against CN Ashwath Narayan, the Minister of Higher Education of Karnataka, with respect to the laptop scam.
“When I was the minister, we initially gave 8,000 laptops for free,” said Rayareddy. He further said that the government later called for a tender to provide more laptops as the state planned to provide around 30,000 or more laptops. Three companies namely, Lenovo, Acer, and HP applied for the tender. The government approved the tender of Acer, wherein one laptop would cost Rs. 14,290 to the government.
In 2016, the Karnataka Government under Siddaramaiah came up with a scheme providing free laptops to Scheduled Caste (SC)/ Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in professional and postgraduate courses in the state colleges.
Later, in 2018, the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government with HD Kumaraswamy as the chief minister, extended this laptop scheme to include students belonging to the general category, whose family income is less than Rs. 2.5 lakhs.
When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under Yeddyurappa came into power and the tender was then approved. Rayareddy said that they had informed the government about the tender costing around Rs. 300 crore whereas the previous tender was around Rs. 150 crores. “We told them not to approve the tender as it will be very expensive,” said Rayareddy, “But Ashwath Narayan approved it despite knowing the information.”
Rayareddy said Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar demanded an enquiry but it was closed by the government. “The Chief Minister and Ashwath are to take accountability for this.”
Captain Ganesh Karnik, the state spokesperson for BJP, said “Congress is asking for judicial enquiry for every trivial matter.”
Ashwath Narayan has been under pressure with corruption charges after the Police Superintendent (PSI) scam, along with other scams.