BJP Member of Parliament Pratap Simha, who hit the headlines for the embarrassing breach in Parliament security early December, has run into further trouble following the arrest of his brother Vikram Simha in connection with the felling of trees worth crores in Hassan district of Karnataka.
Vikram Simha was arrested by the Organised Crime squad of Central Crime Branch and is currently in the custody of the forest department.
According to reports, over 126 trees worth crores were felled in Hassan district and transported elsewhere. An official report said "available documentary evidence" hinted at his involvement in the crime. Forest officials had been looking for Vikram Simha, but he escaped. The officials used electronic surveillance to track him down to Bengaluru.
He was subsequently arrested under a joint operation by the forest officials and the Organised Crime team. He will be taken to Hassan for further action in the case.
Pratap Simha Reacts To Brother's Arrest
Responding to his brother's arrest, Pratap Simha brought up the cheque bounce case involving Karnataka minister Madhu Bangarappa. "Madhu Bangarappa is involved in a cheque bounce case worth Rs 6.5 crore. That invites a jail term of six months by the court. But my brother is arrested," he said. Simha questioned Chief Minister Siddaramaiah if he is "going to sacrifice my family for your son's future" (Siddaramaiah is trying to promote his son in Mysuru, Simha’s constituency).
His brother's arrest comes at a lean time for the BJP MP, who is already drawing fire from the Opposition after his name came up in the Parliament breach case. One of the intruders who intruded into Lok Sabha on December 13 was carrying a visitor's pass issued by Pratap Simha's office. The BJP had later told Speaker Om Birla that the intruder's father was a resident of his constituency and had asked for a pass to visit Parliament.
The Opposition has been persistently questioning why the government was silent in taking action against Simha even though 146 MPs were suspended for unruly conduct after they demanded a statement from Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the massive security breach.