Bangalore: A ruling senior Congress MLA and former Karnataka Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar yesterday landed in a controversy for allegedly brandishing a shoe and threatening staff in a TV channel office, a charge he strongly denied.
A Kannada TV channel showed purported clippings with an enraged Kumar storming into its office and after arguing with the staff taking off his shoe and picking it up in his hand before dropping it during his visit yesterday to protest promos calling him a land grabber.
Kumar maintained that since he was upset he took off the footwear, picked it up and told the staff that "if you find fault with me, you can slipper me." He refuted claims by the channel that he did so to threaten and intimidate the staff.
Kumar, who represents Srinivaspur in Kolar district, however, admitted that " I did use one or two foul words..I am a human being... I apologise for that."
He said that he came to the TV channel office after informing the Additional Police Commissioner and along with police officials who were witnesses to the incident. "I came spontaneously and protested. I had not come prepared... I came as an angry young man...as an honourable man."
Kumar said that he had purchased the land which had been registered but the channel promos carried the caption calling him a land grabber using the word "thief", which hurt him. The High Court had exonerated him, he said.
The channel said that Kumar had stormed into their office, used abusive language and threatened and intimidated their staff inspite of attempts to pacify him and talk it over.
State Congress spokesman B L Shankar said that Kumar was an "honest and ideologically committed politician" and an "emotional person" and was "naturally hurt" when baseless allegations were repeatedly hurled at him. But, he said, he should have shown restraint and used some other forum to redress his grievance. "I express regrets about the incident."