The Congress Thursday alleged in the Karnataka assembly its MLA Shreemant Patil, who suddenly disappeared after being with them at a resort and went incommunicado, had been 'kidnapped' as part of efforts to 'topple' the coalition government.
As the assembly debated the confidence motion moved by chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, senior minister D K Shivakumar alleged Patil was kidnapped and admitted to a hospital in Mumbai.
Patil's photographs emerged showing him lying on a bed in ahospital and undergoing ECG related tests.
Raising the issue, Shivakumar said "With folded hands I am requesting the Speaker of the house, my party MLAs have been kidnapped.I have got a call from the family members. I want you to bring them back sir. We want police protection."
The Congress MLAs said in unison that the lawmakers were living in fear and Patil was kidnapped, kept in a room, taken by a special flight and then admitted to a hospital.
Shivakumar said they would produce documents to show that Patil was forcibly admitted to the hospital to skip assembly.
"I have documentary evidence. He is being held in a hospital... Patil traveled with Lakshman Savadi (former BJP MLA) in the flight," he alleged.
Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao alleged Patil was with him till Wednesday, attended a meetingand was in good health. However, suddenly he disappeared from the resort, where his party MLAs were staying.
Rao said, "When we tried to check where he had gone, we could not find him. He was in good health but see the drama of the BJP."
The remark led to pandamonium with BJP shouting him down amid acrimonious exchanges between the treasury benches and the opposition.
Intervening, Kumaraswamy said "In the case of Patil, you must explain, who sent his photos on WhatsApp, who travelled with him in the flight. The speaker has the responsibility to safeguard the MLAs since numbers matter in the vote."
C T Ravi of the BJP told the Congress members Patil was in their 'custody' only and they were making the allegation against his party as they lacked numbers.
"They don't have the numbers. They are playing this game."
The Speaker then asked "Should I blindfold myself and say I have no relation with it? Where are we heading?"
He told the House that he got a letter, not written on the letterhead, purportedly by Patil saying he had developed chest pain and had been hospitalised.
"Evidence before me is that it is not natural.... I am disturbed," the speaker said and directed Home Minister M B Patil to get in touch with the MLA's family and enquire about his condition and report back to him.