Karnataka Lokayukta submits mining report

Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde on Wednesday submitted his explosive report on the state’s illegal mining business to Chief Secretary SV Ranganath.

Updated: Jul 27, 2011, 16:36 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Bangalore: Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde on Wednesday submitted his explosive report on the state’s illegal mining business and recommended strict action against those who had exploited mines and made money out of it.

The voluminous report, parts of which were leaked to media earlier, indicts Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and former chief minister Kumaraswamy, in addition to the Bellary brothers and Housing Minister V Somanna.

Besides, the names of Janardhan Reddy, Revenue Minister K. Karunakara Reddy and Health Minister B. Sriramulu, JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy and Anil Lad of the Congress, who have been accused of illegal mining in the first report, also figures in the final report.

The report was submitted to state’s Chief Secretary SV Ranganath.

Justice Hegde’s report states that Yeddyurappa and his family have been beneficiaries of the largesse of mining companies. It further alleges that an educational trust run by the Chief Minister`s family allegedly received large sums of money in donations from mining companies.

The report also comes down heavily on Yeddyurappa for retaining the allegedly tainted mining barons from Bellary in his Cabinet.

In the case of Kumaraswamy, the report indicts him for giving mining licences, in violation of the law, to Jantkal mining company and Sai Venkateshwara Minerals. Justice Hegde has also sought an investigation into the role of Congress Rajya Sabha MP Anil Lad in the illegal mining business in Karnataka.
Earlier, before submitting his report, the Lokayukta was guarded about the details of the report and said that everybody should wait for the report to come in public domain.

However, he did say that some ministers in the state have exploited the mines for their benefit, adding that the exact amount procured by politicians through illegal mining has been mentioned in the report.

Hegde who is retiring on August 2, said that he would not have been replaced if he had kept quiet on the illegal mining issue. He also made it a point to wish his successor Justice Shivraj Patil all the best.

The indictment of Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa in the illegal mining racket has put enormous pressure on the BJP leadership to drop its tallest leader in Karnataka and find his replacement.

The findings put the loss to state exchequer because of illegal mining between March 2009 and April 2010 at more than Rs 1,800 crore.
Yeddyurappa, who rode out the storm earlier-- whether it`s challenge to his leadership by dissidents or allegations of de-notification of land-- in his three-year tenure, said he would study the report and will "take appropriate action".

The Chief Minister held confabulations with loyalist ministers and senior party leaders yesterday and put up a brave front saying he would continue in his post for another two years, till the end of his term, but also said he would abide by the decision of the party high-command.

In Delhi, the BJP central leadership - concerned over the fate of its only government in the south – had adopted a wait and watch approach. The party clarified it will go through the voluminous report before taking any decision.