K`taka mining scam: Oppn continues dharna

The ongoing face-off between the BJP-led Karnataka government and the Opposition over the illegal mining scam Tuesday led to the adjournment of the state assembly till Wednesday.

Last Updated: Jul 13, 2010, 12:33 PM IST

Bangalore: The ongoing face-off between the BJP-led Karnataka government and the Opposition over the illegal mining scam Tuesday led to the adjournment of the state assembly till Wednesday.

The House was adjourned after the Opposition MLAs, demanding a CBI probe into the illegal scam, refused to vacate the assembly building despite government’s assurance for quick action against the mining mafias.

Raising the pitch on the illegal mining scam, nearly 45 opposition Congress and JD(S) MLAs and MLCs in the morning staged a helmet protest and later spent the entire night in the Karnataka Assembly, seeking to mount pressure on the Yeddyurappa government to order a CBI inquiry into it.

The Chief Minister Yeddyurappa has turned down the Opposition demand for a CBI probe into the illegal mining in the state.

“The question of a CBI probe does not arise at all,” he said while reacting to the Opposition’s ‘sleep protest’ in the state assembly.

"This is a thick-skinned government. The Yeddyurappa government is involved in the illegal mining", leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah said as he came out of the `Vidhan Soudha` for a morning stroll.

Noting that the Chief Minister himself has admitted to illegal mining to the tune of thousands of crores of Rupees in the past seven yeas, he accused the Government of failing to check plundering of iron ore.

"Those engaged in illegal mining are in his (Yeddyurappa`s) Cabinet. He (the Chief Minister) is giving them protection", Siddaramaiah alleged.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said, "They (MLAs) are spoiling the sanctity of the House by using non-vegetarian food in the House, which is totally against the established tradition of the House".

The Assembly has been rocked over the issue of illegal mining in the State for the past few days.

Opposition MLAs came to the Assembly yesterday wearing helmets, saying they had been threatened by the BJP`s legislators.

Both Congress and JD(S) have insisted that nothing short of a CBI inquiry would bring out the truth on illegal mining, as it involved inter-state and international operations in view of large-scale iron ore export.

Lok Ayukta or CID is ill-equipped to probe a scam of such magnitude, Siddaramaiah said.

The Opposition leader demanded investigation into the scam, including that which took place during the tenure of earlier governments by CBI. The Congress has termed illegal mining as the "scam of the century".

Responding to a questions, Siddaramaiah said the Opposition is also pressing for imposition of President`s Rule in the State. "Law and order has collapsed. The government has failed to protect the interests of the State`.
He said it appears as if (mineral-rich) Bellary district is a separate state, not even part of Karnataka. Congress would stage a `padayatra` from here to Bellary after conclusion of the current session and hold a huge rally in Bellary, he said.

Congress and JD(S) have repeatedly targeted Karnataka Ministers and brothers G Janardhana Reddy and G Karunakara Reddy, who are also mining barons hailing from Bellary.

Bureau Report