Illegal mining: Hegde against junior officer probi

Santosh Hegde criticised appointment of a lower-grade Lokayukta officer to investigate alleged involvement of former CMs in illegal mining activities.

Bangalore: Former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde
today criticised appointment of a lower-grade Lokayukta
officer to investigate alleged involvement of former chief
ministers S M Krishna, H D Kumaraswamy and Dharam Singh in
illegal mining activities in Karnataka during their tenure.

"It is unfortunate that a report prepared by a former
Supreme Court judge (Hegde himself) on illegal mining in the
state is being investigated by Lokayukta Deputy Superintendent
of Police among others ... This is not correct," he told
reporters on the sidelines of his felicitation function here.

The investigation has been entrusted to a team led by S M
Jagadeesh Prasad (Tumkur Lokayukta SP). Other officers are
Chitradurga Lokayukta DySP M R Sannathimmappa and Davangere
Inspector T G Sridhar Shastry.
On December 8 an FIR was registered against External
Affairs Minister S M Krishna and two other former chief
ministers by Lokayukta Police on a private complaint alleging
that they facilitated illegal mining during their tenure.

Hegde alleged that the state government does not have the
will to act on his report, which he said would ultimately go
to the Supreme Court, which would decide its probity.

He referred to action taken by Andhra Pradesh and Goa
against illegal mining in their states, based on his report.

"Sadly the Karnataka government is silent over it. I think
they do not have belief in me or the Lokayukta," he quipped.

"The government should take action on my report as I have
laboured hard to give shape to it," Hegde said.
He, however, said it was not mandatory for the government
to accept his report, which had raised a storm after it
indicted former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa.

Hegde said expressing views publicly on issues discussed
in Parliament does not amount to insulting it. "It is the
people`s right to speak on any issue debated in Parliament.The
Constitution has given this right under Art 19 (1A). How can
anyone say it is wrong," he asked.

Hegde expressed happiness over Opposition parties
supporting social activist Anna Hazare`s quest to bring a
strong Lokpal Bill in Parliament. "It is a good development,"
he added.


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