Will act as per law: Bhardwaj on Lokayukta report

In his first comments on Lokayukta report indicting Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and four ministers in the mining scam, Karnataka Governor Hansraj Bhardwaj said that he will act as per the law on the issue.

Last Updated: Jul 22, 2011, 14:50 PM IST

Bangalore: Spelling more trouble for the Karnataka Chief Minister, Governor HR Bhardwaj on Friday indicated that he would take action on the recommendations of
state Lokayukta on illegal mining, which had indicted BS Yeddyurappa.

"..Whatever he (Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde) will recommend, I will go according to that. I am not going to do anything (else)", Bhardwaj told reporters in response to questions on the sidelines of a function here.

"I will give my serious thought to whatever he recommends and you will know my action the moment I get the report", he said, adding, he expects the report to be
submitted to the government on Monday.

Bhardwaj, who has been at loggerheads with Yeddyurappa, said, "And if as a competent authority, he (Lokayukta) sends the report to me, then I will deal with it
according to the Lokayukta Act (secion 12 and 13)".

Asked if the Chief Minister should resign, he said: "I tell you, you come after two days. You will know everything", but hastened to add: "Don`t anticipate. He is the elected Chief Minister. I cannot speak about him unless I see it (the report). How can I reply (now on whether he should resign).

In a damning indictment of Yeddyurappa, Hegde said yesterday that there was "substantive" evidence against the chief minister and others in the "huge racket" of illegal mining that caused a loss of over Rs 1,800 crore to the state in 14 months.

Asked if it comes under his purview to take action against the Chief Minister and other ministers vis-a-vis the Lokayukta report, Bhardwaj said he is the only constitutional authority to recommend or take action against the Government
and Chief Minister.

Asked what action he would take if the report indeed indicted the Chief Minister and four ministers, the Governor said he would have to see "what`s written about" the Chief Minister, ministers and others, adding, all these matters need to be studied.

Bhardwaj said he respects Justice Hegde a lot and hasknown him since the days he was Advocate General when Ramakrishna Hegde was Karnataka Chief Minister. "I have old friendship with him. He is a very respected (former) Judge in
the country".

It was he after he assumed charge as the Governor who raised the (illegal) mining issue but the government kept saying that "nothing is happening".

Now the Supreme Court itself is dealing with the issue of illegal mining, and the Karnataka government had also asked Justice Hegde to probe it.

Noting that the report is yet to be submitted, the Governor said as one who holds constitutional office he cannot comment on the leaked information, and neither can he talk about his proposed action, lest he would be accused of being "biased and this and that".

Asked if the Chief Minister had deliberately chosen to go on holiday abroad, the Governor said it`s Yeddyurappa`s choice but had a dig at him, saying one can judge for oneself about it as he had taken a break at a time when people are suffering because of floods in parts of the state.