Sonia should reply to Reddy's mining activities: Naidu

Hyderabad: TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday said Congress president Sonia Gandhi owed an answer to the people for turning a blind eye to the alleged illegal mining activities by Karnataka Tourism Minister Gali Janardhana Reddy's mining firm in the state and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

"The Karnataka unit of Congress is fighting the illegal activities of Gali while the AP unit has been supporting it. Even the Congress high command too seems to be supporting the mining mafia," Naidu told reporters.

"It is obvious that the late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's family is hand-in-glove with Gali. Sonia Gandhi owes an answer to the people on this because the mining mafia led by the Karnataka minister was looting precious national wealth," Chandrababu alleged.

"Gali has pumped tonnes of money into the Congress kitty in Andhra Pradesh. In my Kuppam constituency alone, Gali spent Rs 20 crore during the April elections to get me defeated," the TDP president said.

Chandrababu also wondered how the BJP could 'own' people like Gali who became "super rich" in no time at the cost of public exchequer.

"How can the party allow mafia in its ranks," he questioned, but hastened to add that the BJP was under Gali's pressure and hence unable to act.

Naidu said Gali was "unfit" to be a minister as he violated the oath taken under the Constitution to protect public wealth. He, however, refused to either seek Gali's resignation or demand his removal from the Karnataka Cabinet.

Referring to claims made by Gali at a press conference in Hyderabad, Chandrababu asked as to how corruption could be linked to caste. Also, how could illegal mining be a business issue when it involved brazen looting of national wealth, he questioned.

"It's a wider issue of mafia-politician-money nexus. It is a problem to the nation, problem to the society and a threat to democracy and democratic institutions," Chandrababu said.

He wondered why the Union Government as well as the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were unable to fight the mining mafia. "They are able to fight terrorists or Maoists but not the mafia," he said.

Naidu demanded that a multi-disciplinary inquiry, like the one ordered into the Satyam scandal, be instituted into the illegal mining activities.

"The Government of India should evolve a transparent policy on mining immediately and nationalise all mines. Use the mineral wealth for value-addition or processing which will help the country," Naidu said.

The CBI inquiry sought by the state government would actually serve no purpose as the terms of reference were vague, he added.

The TDP, with the support of parties like CPI, CPI-M, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Janata Dal (Secular) and others, would raise the illegal mining issue and the threat of mining mafia in the winter session of Parliament, he said.

Bureau Report