Madhwaraj issues notice to RTI activist, seeks public apology

12:45 PM, Friday, March 23rd, 2018
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udupi-issuesUdupi: Pramod Madhwaraj, Minister of State for Fisheries, Youth Empowerment and Sports, on Thursday threatened to file a defamation suit of ₹10 crore if RTI activist T.J. Abraham does not withdraw his allegation regarding a bank loan obtained by Mr. Madhwaraj, within three days.

Mr. Abraham had recently alleged that Mr. Madhwaraj had mortgaged three acres and eight cents of land in Uppoor village, allegedly valued at just ₹1.1 crore, and obtained a loan of ₹193 crore from the Malpe branch of SyndicateBank in Udupi district. He alleged that the loan taken was disproportionate to the value of the mortgaged lands offered as collateral.

Speaking to presspersons after inaugurating an Indira Canteen at the old taluk office premises here, Mr. Madhwaraj said he had already issued a notice through his advocate to Mr. Abraham on March 21 and informed him that if he did not withdraw his allegation publicly in three days, he would file a defamation suit. “Mr. Abraham’s allegations are false, derogatory and defamatory,” he said.

On who might be behind the entire issue, Mr. Madhwaraj said he suspected the hand of two BJP members as they feared that he (Mr. Madhwaraj) might join that party.

To a question, he said that when he got Congress ticket for Udupi Assembly constituency, he was duty-bound to file his assets and liabilities when filing his nomination papers to the returning officer. “You will come to know the truth then. Till then, I need not give my banking details,” he said.

To another query, he said he had already applied for the Congress ticket this year by paying a sum of ₹1 lakh for the application. “I have no problems within the Congress party in Udupi. I am the only applicant for the party ticket from Udupi,” he said.

On Mr. Abraham’s statement that he would come up with details about Mr. Madhwaraj’s fishmeal plant and petrol bunk in Malpe, the Minister said the fishmeal plant has been in existence for the past 50 years.

“I have all the necessary licence for running it. The petrol bunk belongs to my mother and former Minister, Manorama Madhwaraj, and has been operating since 1974,” he said.

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