No CBI probe into mining issue: BSY
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Last Updated: Saturday, July 17, 2010, 23:19
New Delhi: Ruling out a CBI probe into the illegal mining issue in Karnataka, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Saturday rejected the demand for removal of the Reddy brothers from his cabinet.

"There is no proof of the charges against any of the ministers and action would be taken if substantial proof is available...

"Tomorrow if I get any substantial proof, I am ready to take action. I am not bothered about anybody," he told reporters after his meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and his party leaders L K Advani and Nitin Gadkari.

He was asked if he would follow the example of senior BJP leader L K Advani, who had quit Parliament in the early 90s in the wake of allegations against him in the hawala scandal, and ask his ministers to step down.

To a question why his government was fighting shy of instituting a CBI inquiry into the illegal mining issue, Yeddyurappa said the institution of Lokayukta has been given "all the powers" and it can take the help of Central government and any state government and even Central agencies.

"He is investigating the mining issue. As early as possible, we are going to refer all cases starting from 2002. Soon truth will come out and whoever is culprit, we will punish them," Yeddyurappa said.

He said the Karnataka Lokayukta is already probing the case and the government is extending full cooperation to him.

Yeddyurappa said the opposition Congress-JD(S) campaign against the Reddy brothers -- Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy and Revenue Minister G Karunakaran Reddy -- was born out of political enmity.

He alleged that the relatives of Congress and JD(S) leaders were involved in illegal mining and that they wanted to delay the Lokayukta probe.

The Chief Minister said the Reddy brothers' mining work was going on in Andhra Pradesh and not in Karnataka.

"The Supreme Court and High Court gave their decisions in favour of Reddy brothers," he said.

When asked why he was not heeding to the opposition demand for a CBI probe, Yeddyurappa said, "For the last so many years, previous governments (in Karnataka) have never accepted a CBI investigation. When the investigation has been given to the Lokayukta, he will submit a report."

Yeddyurappa said he discussed the issue of illegal mining, impact of excessive mining and the need for imposing a ban on export of iron ore from the country with the Prime Minister and Home Minister.

"The Prime Minister appreciated the steps taken by the Karnataka government regarding mining activities," Yeddyurappa said.

He has requested the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of Chief Ministers of mineral rich states to discuss the impact of excessive mining and related issues.

"The Prime Minister has assured that he will consider our memorandum and take needful action," Yeddyurappa said.

The Chief Minister also called on senior BJP leader L K Advani to discuss the political situation in Karnataka arising out of opposition allegations of corruption against his cabinet colleagues. Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj's recent statements against the Reddy brothers also figured in the discussions.

On his meeting with Chidambaram, he said he discussed the issues of illegal mining, resignation of Lokayukta Santosh Hegde and its subsequent withdrawal, law and order situation and the current Belgaum row.

The Chief Minister said the only way to stop illegal mining would be to stop iron ore exports and allow only value-added industry. There was no other way, he said, adding he has conveyed this to the Central government.

To a question on whether the Reddy brothers were giving a bad name to the party in the state, Yeddyurappa said, "Unnecessarily without any base they are naming Bellary friends and Bellary ministers. So far they have not interfered in any matter and they don't have any charges against them."

On charges levelled by Congress and JD(S), he said, "If they have any evidence, let them come out with them and approach the courts. Why are they creating unnecessary problems."


First Published: Saturday, July 17, 2010, 23:19

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