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The Many Controversies of Karnataka Minister K J George

File image of KJ George.

File image of KJ George.

George has called the allegations a smear campaign.

It's the second time in just over a year that his name has come up in the suicide of a top official, but Karnataka's rich and powerful minister KJ George is still in denial.

MK Ganapathy, a deputy superintendent with the state police committed suicide in Kodagu on Thursday, hours after he held a press conference accusing George, his son Rana and two top police officials of harassing him.

A suicide note found in his room reportedly said the minister, his son and two top IPS officers - state intelligence chief ADGP Ashit Mohan Prasad and Lokayukta IGP Pranab Mohanty - were responsible for his death.

An unmoved George responded, "I have nothing to do with his death. I last met him more than two years ago, when I was Home Minister. My name is being dragged into this. Why should I quit? I will not."

Opposition BJP and JDS leaders called for action against George but no case of abetment to suicide has been filed against anyone mentioned in the suicide note.

George, who is presently Bengaluru Development Minister, was accused of driving young IAS officer DK Ravi to suicide last year. The CBI has not been able find any evidence against him, but the incident cost him the powerful home portfolio.

Part-time businessman and part-time politican, George has a penchant for controversies. Originally from neighbouring Kerala, he was born and brought up in Karnataka’s scenic Kodagu district.

He entered politics as a youth Congress leader and became minister in the state in 1989. As Urban Development minister in the 1990s, he was accused of large scale land-grabbing.

He called the allegations a smear campaign.

Between 1999 and 2013, George was forced to keep a low profile because of many reasons. When the Congress returned to power in 2013, George surprised everybody by bagging the Home portfolio.

His rivals in the party point fingers at his connections in Delhi.

George's controversial real estate deals were cited as a reason when IAS officer Ravi committed suicide. He could breathe easy only when the CBI found nothing against him.

But, the death of Dy SP Ganapathy is different. Since he openly blamed George hours before his death, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is finding it difficult to defend him.

JDS leader HD Deve Gowda and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa have demanded his immediate dismissal from the ministry.

George owns large swathes of real estate across Bengaluru, where he has built several software parks, earning tens of crores a month in rent.

He lives in a top-end pent House at the Embassy Golf Links on old Airport road, with a private Golf Course and five star hotel as part of the residential compound.

Whoever he meets, George doesn't forget to tell that he was not into politics to make money as he legally earns a fortune from his properties.

But with every controversy against him, that claim is beginning to look less and less credible.

first published:July 08, 2016, 15:50 IST