Karnataka graft case: High court directs IISc to test KSDL-rejected chemical samples

Three private firms, Chemixil Corporation, Delicia Chemicals, and Bannari Constructions, approached the court challenging KSDL's rejection.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Mar 18, 2023 | 6:53 PM Updated Mar 18, 2023 | 9:19 PM

The Karnataka High Court

The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday, 16 March, directed the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to test the samples of raw materials that the Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Corporation Limited (KSDL) had rejected citing various reasons.

The high court ordered the Bengaluru-based premier science educational institute to test the samples and submit a detailed report after a few private chemical companies, Chemixil Corporation, Delicia Chemicals, and Bannari Constructions, challenged KSDL’s rejection of their chemicals in the court.

Justice M Nagaprasanna, who heard the applications, passed the order. The court will further hear the case after two weeks.

The KSDL is caught in a controversy after its chairman and BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa’s son Prashanth Kumar MV alias Prashanth Madal was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of ₹40 lakh from a contractor.

Related: Graft case: Investigating officer changed, gag orders on media

The case according to complainants

During the hearing, petitioner’s counsel Venkatesh P Dalawai said that KSDL bought raw materials — chemicals and oil — for manufacturing soap and detergents from private companies.

BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa. (Sourced)

However, the firm rejected 15 samples of chemicals provided by the three petitioner companies, and the contract was awarded to another company that had quoted a higher price. Dalawai submitted that malicious intent was evident in the move.

After hearing the petitioners, the court directed the KSDL to hand over the samples to IISc for testing.

On 14 February, the petitioner companies moved the high court challenging KSDL’s rejection of their samples and awarding the contract to other companies at higher rates. The Lokayukta police filed an FIR on 2 March against Virupakshappa and Prashanth in connection with allegations of corruption levelled against them.

Shreyas Kashyap, the proprietor of Chemixil Corporation, is the complainant in the first FIR registered by Lokayukta police. The FIR accused MLA Virupakshappa and Prashanth Madal of demanding and accepting a bribe of ₹40 lakh from the complainant.

Kashyap had recorded his conversation with Prashanth on his smart techno watch. The ₹40 lakh was the first installment for awarding a tender.

The complainant had contacted the Lokayukta before meeting Prashanth at his father’s Crescent Road office in Bengaluru. While Prashanth was arrested in the subsequent raid, Virupakshappa went into hiding till the high court granted him interim anticipatory bail on 7 March.

Soon after the Lokayukta raid, the MLA quit his position at the KSDL.

The Lokayukta has now approached the Supreme Court, challenging the bail granted to the MLA representing Channagiri in the Karnataka Assembly.