Bangalore: Pandemonium broke out in
Karnataka Assembly Wednesday after the Opposition raised the issue
of alleged illegal mining scam leading to adjournment of the
House for the day.
"I apologise to the people of Karnataka that I am not
able to conduct the business," Speaker K G Bopaiah said
adjourning the Assembly to meet tomorrow, shortly after it met
this morning with Opposition Congress and JDS continuing their
indefinite dharna in the House demanding CBI probe into the
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said Lokayukta was already
probing the issue of illegal mining since 2002-03 and has
"full powers" to conduct investigation in this regard.
"Let`s wait for the Lokayukta`s report", he said, adding,
ordering a CBI inquiry would lead to "delay" as the Lokayukta
was already on the job.
He sought to turn the tables on the Opposition saying,
"There is suspicion the Opposition is demanding CBI probe to
bury the issue (mining scam) as mostly it`s the Congress and
JDS leaders who are involved (in illegal mining and exports)."
Yeddyurappa asked why the then Chief Ministers S M
Krishna and H D Deve Gowda chose not to order CBI
investigation (whenever the then opposition demanded such
Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah (Congress) said the
loss to the state exchequer due to the scam was to the tune of
Rs 20,000 crore.
He then started accusing the ruling BJP government in the
state of not doing anything for those affected by the floods
last year, which was objected to by the Chief Minister.
As Siddaramaiah protested there were "attempts to
curtail" his speech by ruling party members who were on their
toes shouting anti-Opposition slogans, leading to din in the
House as the Speaker adjourned it for the day.
"He is the `goonda` Chief Minister. He cajoled ruling
party MLAs to silence us. Only fascists can do like this," a
combative Siddaramaiah, who appeared visibly upset at the
abrupt adjournment, told reporters later.
"He (Yeddyurappa) is not handing over the probe to CBI as
he is scared of Bellary brothers (Tourism Minister G
Janardhana Reddy and Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy). He
wants to save his chair. My inference is that Yeddyurappa has
totally colluded with them," he said. "Even today illegal
mining is taking place in Bellary."
Sticking to its stand, the government reiterated it would
not order a CBI probe as Home Minister V S Acharya accused the
Opposition of being "obsessed with CBI."
"We have seen how CBI functions," Acharya told reporters
after the Legislative Council was adjourned for the day as the
opposition continued its dharna, disrupting the proceedings
for the third straight day.
He asked why the then Home Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge
rejected the demand of the then Opposition for a CBI probe
into the multi-crore fake stamp paper racket when the Congress
was in power in the state.
He also referred to other cases in the past where the then
Congress government had turned down similar demands.
The Opposition members continued their dharna overnight
seeking to mount pressure on the government to concede their
demand for CBI probe. They spent their second straight night
on the premises of the Assembly - sleeping inside the House
and in the lobby - as the issue snowballed.
JDS leader H D Revanna, who is the son of former Prime
Minister H D Devegowda, described the plundering of iron
ore in the past seven years as a "Rs 20,000 crore scam."