Bangalore: Ahead of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari's visit here Friday , the party faced more embarrassment Thursday as another Karnataka minister was slapped with cheating and fraud cases. The scam predates his induction as a minister.
Forest Minister C.P. Yogeshwar faces 14 cases for allegedly cheating scores of people by promising house sites on Bangalore's outskirts.
The cases were filed by the union corporate affairs ministry after a probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office attached to it.
Taking cognizance of the cases, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Kiran Kini ordered Yogeshwar and four others to appear in his court in two weeks.
Yogeshwar and the four others are accused of cheating investors of Rs. 39 crores by floating a real estate firm Mega City Developers and Builders Limited (MDBL) in 2005-06.
Yogeshwar was its managing director. He was at that time in the Congress. He quit as Congress legislator in 2009 and joined the BJP.
Yogeshwar is the third minister in the D.V. Sadananda Gowda cabinet to face criminal cases. The others are Murugesh Nirani, industries, and V. Somanna, housing.
At least 15 BJP law makers, including these three ministers, are now fighting legal battles.
Leading their ranks is BJP's first chief minister in Karnataka and south India B.S. Yeddyurappa who was forced to quit in July last year over corruption charges.
His son and BJP Lok Sabha member B.Y. Raghavendra is also an accused in the six cases of corruption and illegal land deals against Yeddyurappa.
Others include mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy over illegal mining, S.N. Krishnaiah Setty and Katta Subramanya Naidu for corruption, Haratulu Halappa on rape charges. All were members of the Yeddyurappa ministry.
Gadkari is arriving to give pep talk to party leaders and lawmakers on morality and discipline following the involvement of three ministers, Laxman Savadi, C.C. Patil and J. Krishna Palemar in the porn viewing incident in the assembly Feb 7. They quit the ministry the next day.