‘No mining licence issued during my tenure’

A day after a Lokayukta Court ordered probe against him,S M Krishna on Sunday insisted that no mining licence was issued during his tenure.

New Delhi: A day after a Lokayukta Court
ordered probe against him, External Affairs Minister S M
Krishna on Sunday insisted that no mining licence was issued
during his tenure as Karnataka Chief Minister and expressed
confidence that judiciary would vindicate him.

He said former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde had
conducted "a very detailed and comprehensive enquiry" into the
issue of mining from 1999 to 2010 which also covered his
tenure as the Chief Minister and there was no indictment of
him "anywhere in the Lokayukta report".

"The fact that Justice Santosh Hegde has gone on record
in public only further confirms this," he said in a statement
issued here and asserted that there had been no de-reservation
of forests "as being incorrectly reported".

"I wish to point out that I never retained the portfolio
of Mines and Geology. Further to the best of my knowledge no
mining licence was issued during my tenure," Krishna, who was
the Chief Minister from 1999 to 2004, said.

Even if such licences were issued this would have been
done by the competent authority of the Mines and Geology
Department, he said.

Observing that "attempts at character assassination are
one of the most despicable of human behavioural patterns", the
Minister said he was more than certain that the judiciary
would vindicate him and "put to rest once and for all such
unholy attempts."

A Lokayukta Special Court had on Saturday ordered Lokayukta
police to probe a private complaint against Krishna and two
former Chief Ministers -- N Dharam Singh and H D Kumaraswamy,
seeking action against them under provisions of prevention of
corruption act for allegedly allowing illegal mining for gain.

Stating that the Cabinet sometime in 2003 decided to
de-reserve mineral wealth for mining and the Government was
fully empowered to take such a decision as per the Minerals
Concession Rules, 1960, Krishna said a gazette notification
issued pursuant to the Cabinet decision "clearly states that
applicants for mining leases have to obtain no objection
certificates from the Forest Department".

"When a gazette notification has been issued it is
abundantly clear that nothing which has been done in secret,"
he said.

"....there is no wrongful loss to the Government.
Consequently there can be no wrongful gain," the Minister

The statement came a day after Lokayukta Judge N K
Sudhindra Rao directed Lokayukta ADGP to conduct probe against
Krishna along with Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy and submit its
report to him on January 6.

The probe order came on a complaint which alleged that
during his tenure as Chief Minister, Krishna had not only
sanctioned mining lease on old rates but also de-reserved
forest land, despite severe opposition from the department of
forest and environment.

"All decisions are policy matters related to the state
and no favouritism has been shown to anyone (by Krishna)," the
statement said, adding that "all matters pertaining to all
issues will be furnished."

"I am given to understand that allegations have been made
against me, two other ex-chief ministers and a number of
officials. While my legal team will take appropriate action at
the appropriate time, I consider it necessary to clarify
matters. This is necessary as silence on my part would give
rise to speculation," he said.


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