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Illegal mining report: Santosh Hegde keeps everyone guessing

Posted by on July 23, 2011 0 Comment

Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde kept everybody guessing on when he would make his second report on illegal mining public but Governor HR Bhardwaj was all ready to take action based on the recommendations of the ombudsman.

Some contents of the report which were leaked to the media on Wednesday night had the names of Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy besides Congress MP Anil Lad .

Justice Hegde, however, denied that the name of former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna , who is the External Affairs Minister, figures in the second report as reported in some sections of the media.

Justice Hegde refused to answer queries of journalists on Friday, on when the report would be released, while detailing about raids conducted across the state on Friday but said that he was not obliged to submit the report to the Governor and would only do so if Bhardwaj seeks it.

Bhardwaj, who has a very stormy relationship with the BJP-led government in Karnataka, however, said that he would go by the recommendations made by the Lokayukta on illegal mining in the State. The Governor, who had recently recommended President’s rule has said that he would act within the confines of the Lokayukta Act.

These remarks by the governor could cause some trouble for the BJP government in Karnataka as the names of Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and four other ministers figure prominently in the yet-to-be-made-public report.

BJP chose to stick to its stand that it will not react till the contents of the report were known. The events have been unfolding as Chief Minister Yeddyurappa is holidaying abroad with his family and there has been no official response till now. The party chose to focus on phone tapping issue raised by Justice Hegde, who alleged that his offices and phones were tapped by the government. State BJP President KS Eshwarappa said that this was a serious matter and needed a thorough investigation.

Even Home Minister R Ashok who met the Governor on Friday said the State government has not received any official complaint. Congress too sought an inquiry into the phone tapping issue.

The controversy over illegal mining and transportation of iron ore from Karnataka especially in Bellary district has been raging since the BJP came to power in May, 2008. There is a fact-finding team by the Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court at the moment checking the extent of encroachment and illegal mining by various firms and individuals operating in Bellary District. Economic Times

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