A damning report on illegal mining by Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N. Santosh Hegde on illegal mining — leaked to a private television channel on Wednesday night — could land chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his party with no option but to find a new leader in Karnataka.
The explosive report spells trouble for the Opposition too as it names state Janata Dal (S) president H.D. Kumaraswamy as well as Anil Lad, Congress Rajya Sabha member. The names of four ministers and several other leaders of both parties is likely to surface in the report along with action recommended against more than 600 officers and owners of 58 mining firms, according to Lokayukta sources.
The report highlights transactions between Mr Yeddyurappa’s sons and South-West Mining Company, reportedly a front of a steel behemoth. The firm gained from such transactions as `118 crores due to Mysore Minerals Ltd was waived by the state government.
The report, running into 10,000 pages, has blamed the government for a whopping loss of `1,827 crores to the state’s exchequer over the last two years.
While the damning report could trigger a massive change of the state’s political canvas, with the ruling and Opposition parties hurling charges against each other, governor H.R. Bhardwaj seems set to go for Mr Yeddyurappa’s jugular at the earliest. With no love lost between the chief minister and himself, Mr Bhardwaj reportedly told visitors to Raj Bhavan that he would approve the prosecution of Mr Yeddyurappa as soon as the report was released.
The CM’s bete noire, BJP general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar, and his supporters have reportedly been waiting for the report, and will now step up pressure for Mr Yeddyurappa to be replaced by rural development and panchayat raj minister Jagadish Shettar, who is a Lingayat.
Sources close to Mr Yeddyurappa said he would make the most of his vacation in Mauritius to draw up a counter-strategy in consultation with senior advocates. In case he has to step down, the leader will push for power minister Shobha Karandlaje or higher education minister V.S. Acharya as his successor.
Justice Santosh Hegde, however, expressed displeasure over the leakage of his second mining report but said that he would not institute an inquiry into the leakage because the BJP leader Dhananjay Kumar has already stated that they would institute an inquiry. Denying the allegation that he could have leaked the sensitive mining report to a national TV channel, Justice Hegde said it would have been hara-kiri on his part to leak the report to a section of the media even before he submitted the report to the government.
“I would have submitted the report to the government by July 25th. Why should I selectively leak it to a national TV channel? If at all I had to leak the report, I would have given it to the local media channels in Karnataka.” Asian Age