Mining taint: Krishna secures stay from SC

The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim relief to External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on his petition challenging the registration of an FIR by the Karnataka Lokayukta police on allegations that he had illegally de-reserved forest blocks for mining when he was chief minister 1999-2004.

New Delhi: In a reprieve for External
Affairs Minister S M Krishna, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed
the Karnataka High Court order directing Lokayukta Police to
probe him in the alleged illegal mining during his tenure as
the Chief Minister of the state.

"We are inclined to stay the proceedings. Accordingly the
proceedings on the FIR on the issue ordered by the Karnataka
Lokayukta will remain stayed," a bench comprising justices
Altamas Kabir and Gyan Sudha Misra said.

The bench also said that the probe ordered by the
Lokayukta court was "premature".

It issued notice to Karnataka Government and the
complainant, on whose plea the FIR was registered and sought
their response within three weeks.

The court passed the orders on a plea by Krishna, seeking
quashing of private complaint and probe by Lokayukta police
against him over alleged illegal mining when he wass
Karnataka Chief Minister from 1999 to 2004.

The petition by Krishna had challenged the January 20
decision of the Karnataka High Court by which his plea for
quashing the private complaint and proceedings ordered by the
Lokayukta Special Court against him was declined.

He had contended that the Cabinet decision was a
collective one taken by 34 ministers and an individual cannot
be held responsible for it.

The high court had ordered that investigation should
continue into offences relating to dereservation of forest
area in mineral-rich fragile zones.

Krishna, Chief Minister from 1999 to 2004, however had
got some relief from the high court when it quashed the
charges of mismanagement of state-owned Mysore Minerals
Limited by him on the ground "it does not constitute any
cognisable offence and do not call for investigation".

The proceedings by a Lokayukta Special Court was
initiated on December 8 last on a private complaint against

Krishna had challenged the Lokayukta court order in the
high court which had on December 15 last stayed the FIR
against him.

Social activist T J Abraham had filed a private
complaint against Krishna and former Chief Ministers H D
Kumaraswamy N Dharam Singh seeking action against them for
allegedly facilitating illegal mining.