The BJP government in Karnataka came out firing on all cylinders in a desperate bid to discredit the second mining report, which reportedly indicts state chief minister B.S.Yeddyurappa and four members of his Cabinet.
Karnataka’s special representative in New Delhi, Dhananjay Kumar, cited the Commissions of Inquiry Act under which the government can reject a report if it comes into the public domain before it is submitted to the government. An emotionally charged Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde, however, dismissed this claim, saying the sanctity of the report, selectively leaked on Wednesday, remained intact.
Justice Hegde also told this newspaper that only a small but nevertheless operative part of his report had been leaked, and that he was racing to complete the annexure before he sent it to the printers on Friday.
The state’s chief secretary will receive the first copy of the report, most likely on Monday, with a copy being sent to state governor H.R. Bhardwaj, sources said. The state Cabinet must approve the report if action is to be taken, the chief minister’s supporters said.
The chief minister, Mr Yeddyurappa, who is holidaying with his family in Mauritius and might have had an inkling of what the report contained, had reportedly called in senior advocate Ram Jethmalani for consultations last week. Mr Jethmalani was here to file a petition in the high court challenging the prosecution order given by governor H.R. Bhardwaj. He reportedly told the chief minister that since the cases to be referred to by the Lokayukta in his final report — the Prerana Trust, and denotifying land in
Rachenahalli — were pending in the court, action cannot be taken against him by the party at this stage. “Till the court disposes of the cases, the party cannot act,” he reportedly said.
However, embarrassed Karnataka BJP MLAs admitted they were increasingly looking at state party chief K.S. Eshwarappa, who could emerge as an alternative leader to BSY. “Considering the good relations Mr Eshwarappa has with MLAs, he may emerge as the rallying point to lead the ‘Yeddyurappa hatao’ campaign,” sources in the party said.
Mr Eshwarappa told this newspaper that no discussion had taken place in the party on this issue, and it was premature to discuss any issue till the submission of the final report.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari, now on a European tour, is expected to rush back to New Delhi by late Thursday night, after which the matter is likely to be discussed by the party’s top bosses. However, when contacted, the BJP general secretary in charge of Karnataka, Dharmendra Pradhan, was cautious. “The party will not react until it gets a copy of the final report,” he said.
While the Janata Dal (S) was shellshocked over the findings of the Lokayukta report, the state Congress leaders are sitting pretty. The KPCC president, Dr G. Parameshwar, revealed that the party would battle against the BJP government even at the cost of Congress leaders who might be named in the final report. Asian Age