KSRTC Staff and Workers’ Federation has demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into an alleged sting operation aired by a Kannada news channel, in which farmers’ leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, who led the KSRTC employees’ strike in April 2021, is purportedly seen “dealing” for ₹35 crore to end the strike.
The strike was spearheaded by KSRTC Employees’ League led by Mr. Chandrashekhar, as against the KSRTC Staff and Workers’ Federation, the older union in the corporation. The strike from April 7 to April 21, 2021, had paralysed services across the State and led to dismissal of hundreds of employees, some of whom have not been reinstated.
“There are serious questions raised by the sting video. Who all are involved in this scandal and who paid the money. Are the officers of the corporation involved? All these questions need answers, for which a CBI probe is the only answer,” said H.V. Anantha Subba Rao, president of the federation, in his open letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
The sting operation and the demand for the CBI probe have also put the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has been aggressively pursuing an anti-corruption plank, in a tough spot. Mr. Chandrashekhar joined the AAP in a farmers’ rally attended by Delhi Chief Minister and party supremo Arvind Kejriwal in the city on April 21, 2022. “The party’s stand is very clear — we have zero tolerance to corruption, something we have proven with the recent sacking and arrest of our own Minister in Punjab. The sting video is not clear. That it is a year-old video raises questions as to why it was not aired till now. The bigger question is who was allegedly paying the bribe and why there are no questions being asked on them. We have demanded that an FIR be registered and an impartial probe conducted. At present, we don’t have enough credible information to take action against Mr. Chandrashekhar,” said Pruthvi Reddy, convener, AAP – Karnataka.
Despite repeated calls, Mr. Chandrashekhar was not available for comment.