Kerala: Ruckus over leaked tape suggesting secret cash deal between BJP and ally JRS ahead of polls

K Surendran’s office is expected to release a statement today in connection with the allegations.

After conceding its lone seat in Kerala to the ruling Left Front government, the Bharatiya Janata Party is at the centre of a storm over an alleged cash deal with one of its allies. An alliance leader has claimed that the chief of his party, a prominent tribal face, had demanded Rs 10 crore from the BJP to return to the fold. Janathipathya Rashtriya Sabha (JRS) treasurer Praseetha Azhikode alleged that party chief CK Janu had settled for Rs 10 lakh from the BJP state president K Surendran just before the Kerala Assembly Election.

K Surendran’s office is expected to release a statement today in connection with the allegations.

Rebel JR member Praseetha has also released an audio of a purported conversation between Janu and Surendran. “…let her come on (March) 6… I will hand it over personally, you come too…this money dealing… during the elections, it is not possible to carry from here to there,” a voice in the clip can be heard saying. Praseetha claims that the voice heard on the tape is that of Surendran.

Praseetha also dared Janu to face a probe into the matter. She claimed that Surendran wanted Janu back in the NDA. Janu, in return, demanded Rs 10 crore, a post with Cabinet rank in the central government and a seat to contest the polls. She claimed that Janu made the demands in her presence.

JRS chief Janu, however, has denied the allegations. She has also threatened legal action against Praseetha. While the deal was supposed to take place on March 6, Janu had announced her return to the NDA on March 7. Kerala went to polls on April 6.

Janu said that she has closer links with BJP leaders than Praseetha. “Why should I seek the assistance of a third person? I don’t know whether she had pocketed money on my behalf. A probe will reveal it,” she said.

CK Janu had floated JRS in 2016 and contested the Assembly elections as an NDA ally. However, she left the alliance in 2018. According to reports, she wanted to join the Left front but that did not happen.

The allegation has come at a time when several party leaders in the state are being probed by Kerala Police in connection with the highway robbery worth Rs 3.5 crore in Thrissur. Kerala Police is also looking into the ‘unaccounted election fund’ angle.

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