A Karnataka minister who had linked an increase in farmer suicides with the rise in compensation has been caught on camera sitting on a sofa surrounded by currency notes – including some on his feet – as people around him continue to throw money in the air.
A video that is going viral shows Karnataka Sugarcane Development Minister Shivanand Patil sitting, surrounded by a few people, while ‘qawwali singers’ perform. As the camera pans, currency notes can be seen lying everywhere on the ground and nearly covering the entire area between the audience and the stage.
The notes, most of which appear to be of the Rs 500 denomination, are also seen lying on the minister’s feet as he sits nonchalantly and continues talking to the people around him. A man is then seen showering some currency notes in Mr Patil’s direction and then in the direction of the singers.
Sources said the video is from three days ago when Mr Patil was attending the wedding of the son of Gulbarga Congress Leader Ayaz Khan with the daughter of RR Gutka owner and Red Rose Group of Companies chairman Syed Hameed Uddin in Hyderabad.
The BJP and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi have hit out at the minister and the Congress and accused them of running a “collection business” in Karnataka, where the party is in power.
“Sugar Minister Shivanand Patil has given a real demonstration of how the ministers are enjoying with the money looted from the people of the state,” the Karnataka BJP posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Denying any wrongdoing, Mr Patil said he did not throw any money and just happened to be there at the wedding.
Mr Patil was involved in another controversy last month, when he said farmer suicides had gone up in Karnataka after the state government had hiked compensation. He had later said he did not intend to hurt the sentiments of the farmers and that he was merely advising the media to wait for data before reporting the number of farmer suicides.