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Mining scam: SC is my only hope, says Hegde

Expressing doubts over the state government implementing his report on the mining scam in Karnataka, state Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde on Saturday said his only hope was the Supreme Court.



Bangalore: Expressing doubts over the
state government implementing his report on the mining scam in
Karnataka, state Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde on Saturday said
his only hope was the Supreme Court.

"Government will not act on it," Hegde said on the
report which is expected to be submitted to the government
next week.

"My only hope is the Supreme Court," he said in an
interview.

He, however, said it was not mandatory for the
government to accept his report, which has indicted Chief
Minister B S Yeddyurappa.

Four ministers, including three from the mineral-rich
Bellary district, have also been indicted by the Lokayukta,
whose findings say that the "huge racket" has caused a loss of
Rs 1,800 crore to the exchequer in 14 months since March 2009.

Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, said the apex
court is monitoring the illegal activity in mining area in
Karnataka and it has expressed very strongly that the
government completely stop mining in Bellary.

"And I have evidence and other things of illegality
going on in Bellary; I have put it in my report. And I am sure
(the Supreme Court appointed) Central Empowered Committee
which is collaborating with us (Karnataka Lokayukta)also...
Their object is the same as mine (of) curbing illegal mining.
They may take the report (to be submitted next week) and place
it before the Supreme Court".

As an "agency" created by the Supreme Court, the CEC
can "straight away" take the report and does not have to apply
under the Right to Information Act, he said.

"As much as the Government is entitled to a copy, the
Supreme Court is also (entitled)," he said, noting the CEC has
taken his first report on illegal mining submitted in December
2008, and "relied upon it" and he expects it to do it this
time as well.

Hegde, a member of the joint drafting committee on the
Lokpal bill, is not surprised by Chief Minister’s statement
that he would not resign.

"...and each one when it comes to respective political
parties... when it comes to their personal conduct and all
that... they will justify it anyway (that they have done no
wrong)", he said.

Hegde agreed that it’s not mandatory for the
Government to accept his report. "Lokayukta report will only
recommend what’s happened and what should be done about it,
and anybody who is accountable or responsible should take
action on that..."

Based on the information in the report, he said
Lokayukta can certainly prosecute those who had been named in
it but added that the first opportunity is for the Government
to act upon it.

"If criminal activities are noticed, liability is
noticed, we can prosecute" but it’s "left to the next man (his
successor)".

Hegde is retiring on August 2.

Hegde said he is concerned about the physical safety
and career prospects of the five Lokayukta officials under him
who probed the illegal mining for the latest report, and
recommended to the government to treat them as
"whistle-blowers".

"It`s not only physical harm that I apprehend, I am
apprehending much more than that, because their entire career
could be spoiled. They have stepped on the toes of very many
people… powerful people… People who are in politics...there
are (their) seniors... all based on evidence... they only gave
fodder (evidence and information) and I solved the fodder", he
said.

Hegde referred to an attack on UV Singh, a senior
forest official and key investigator on the illegal mining, by
a Bangalore corporator when he was probing discharge of
polluted water a few months ago, and said the illegal mining
issue is much more serious.

"Mining people are a different kind of people
altogether", he remarked.

Hegde said his endeavour is to submit the report on
Monday or Tuesday but indicated that there could be some
delay.

"Unfortunately, it’s not in my hands", he said,
adding, the printing of the report needs to be under the
scrutiny of Lokayukta officers "not that we have more to be
released (leaked report has it all)".

PTI

From Zee News

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