Belagavi: After the recent Income Tax raids unearthed a huge amount of benami assets in the possession of Small Scale Industries Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and State Congress Women’s Cell President Laxmi Hebbalkar, the two top Congress leaders from Belagavi, the Congress party is left with no alternative but to depend totally on four-time legislator Satish Jarkiholi to salvage the party’s lost pride in Belagavi region.
Ever since Satish was removed from the cabinet, several of his associates were expecting some kind of retaliation from Satish against Hebbalkar, who was believed to have played a key role in getting him replaced with Ramesh in the cabinet. And merely seven months after his exit, a sudden IT raid has happened at Ramesh and Laxmi’s residences creating an opportunity for Satish to bounce back into the cabinet.
After hastily inducting Ramesh into the cabinet removing a popular leader like Satish, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is in a dilemma whether to reinduct him into the cabinet now. To take a final call on it, the CM asked Satish to rush to Bengaluru from Gokak on Tuesday afternoon, according to sources.
Despite knowing Satish’s role in the party’s victory in most elections from panchayats to the Lok Sabha in the last one decade in Belagavi region, none from the Congress including Ramesh and Laxmi rallied behind him when he was dropped from the cabinet. Since then, Satish was waiting for a chance to teach a lesson to his detractors in the party.
The I-T Department may not disclose sources from whom it received information about benami properties of Ramesh and Laxmi but the man behind it could soon be replacing Ramesh in the cabinet.
If sources are to be believed, a 400-page complaint was lodged with the I-T Department by an unidentified person which contained details of all deals and properties pertaining to Ramesh and Laxmi.
According to sources close to the Jarkiholis, some close associates of Satish have appealed to him not to accept the CM’s offer to join the cabinet again while others want him to accept it. Once a close-friend of the CM, Satish too is keen on joining the cabinet to regain his lost popularity in Belagavi region ahead of the next elections.
Ramesh may be asked by the CM to resign in the wake of a confirmation made by the IT department about his benami assets and the huge illegal investments made by shareholders in his sugar factory. Sources said, he was on the IT department’s radar after he squandered crores of money on his son’s wedding held on November 21, two weeks after demonetisation.