Bengaluru: Stung by a volley of barbs against him by prime minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah over alleged corruption, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday sent legal notices to them warning he would file criminal and civil defamation cases.
Taking his running battle against Modi to a new level, Siddaramaiah also sent a notice to the BJP's chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, whom the Congress has repeatedly accused of corruption.
The notice asked them to tender unconditional apology or face a defamation suit for Rs 100 crore.
Modi has repeatedly attacked Siddaramaiah over alleged corruption, calling his government "seedha rupaiya sarkar" (government that takes bribe for every work) and "10 per cent
During his campaign blitz, Modi has also alleged that while his government talked about ease of doing business, Siddaramaiah government was facilitating "ease of doing murders", referring to the killing of Hindu activists.
In his notices, Siddaramaiah has sought 'unconditional public apology' immediately from the prime minister and others through electronic, print and social media failing which they would face legal action.
In his notices sent through his lawyer and Congress MLC, V S Ugrappa, Siddaramaiah said all the parties had jointly and severally committed libel and offences punishable under various IPC sections.
"You are called upon to cease and desist from making such statements forthwith and give an unconditional public apology immediately through electronic, print and social media in which the statements and advertisements have appeared," Ugrappa said in the notice released to the media.
"In the event you fail to do so, please note that you have rendered yourself liable to civil and criminal action and payment of exemplary damages of Rs 100 crore," it said.
Ugrappa said his client (Siddaramaiah), whose political career spanned 50 years, has always maintained personal and political integrity and honesty.
"Any imputation of irregular dealings and dishonesty not only affects my client's reputation in the eyes of public and his peers but also adversely affects his party viz the Indian National Congress," the notice said.
It said false and defamatory statements had been made against Siddaramaiah "intentionally and maliciously."
Ugrappa said the advertisements published by the BJP in various newspapers and aired by news channels besides displayed on LED screens and shared in social media were false and defamatory.
He cited instances of the "objectionable" content in advertisements.
Further stepping up attack on Modi, the party also lodged a complaint against him with the Election Commission of India, saying he violated the model code of conduct by making a promise to resolve the Mahadayi river water sharing issue with the neighbouring Goa.
The party quoted Modi as saying, "The Union government is ready to talk to the riparian states and resolve the Mahadayi water sharing issue amicably."
The complaint said Modi misused his position to garner votes for the BJP and intimidated voters, especially those living around Mahadayi river to vote for his party.