The Congress on 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.
However, Patil, in a video message on a social networking site, said no one had kidnapped him.
In the message, he said he had developed chest pain due to which he was admitted at a hospital in Mumbai where he had gone for some 'personal work'.
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.
However, Patil in a video message said, "Yesterday I had come here (Mumbai) for some personal work. I felt tired, and body became numb and there was pain in the chest. Hence, I got admitted in a hospital in Mumbai. No one has kidnapped me. Since my health is not proper, I got admitted in a hospital."
Raising the issue in the assembly, 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 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 travelled with Lakshman Savadi (former Bharatiya Janata Party MLA) in the flight," he alleged.
Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao alleged Patil was with him till Wednesday, attended a meeting and 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 pandemonium 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.
Meanwhile, the Congress lodged a complaint with the Bengaluru police commissioner urging him to probe the 'disappearance' of Patil.
In the complaint, Karnataka Congress secretary A N Nataraj Gowda and spokesperson Manjunatha Adde alleged that a former MLA either kidnapped him or unlawfully restrained him so that he could not attend the proceedings of the house.