Krishna, 'the author of Karnataka mining scam'?

Dec 01, 2011, 06:33 IST | Imran Gowhar and B V Shiva Shankar

Social activist files complaint with Lokayukta court naming foreign minister, former chief ministers Dharam Singh and H D Kumaraswamy; Justice Santosh Hegde does a U-turn over Krishna indictment a day after MiD DAY expose

A day after MiD DAY exposed Foreign Minister S M Krishna's alleged involvement in illegal mining case during his tenure as the chief minister, a private complaint was filed against the Congress stalwart calling him the 'author of the mining scam in the state' at the Lokayukta court.

(From left ) Complainant Abraham T Joseph yesterday filed a complaint against former chief minister Dharam Singh, JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy and foreign minister SM Krishna for their alleged involvement in illegal mining. File Pics

The complainant, Abraham T Joseph, a social worker, also accused former chief minister Dharam Singh, now an MP, and JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy along with more than 10 bureaucrats for allowing illegal mining in the state, causing huge losses to the state exchequer.

Hegdes' U-turn
Interestingly, former Lokayukta Justice N Santhosh Hegde, who has been under attack from the BJP for not indicting Krishna in his famous mining report that claimed B S Yeddyurappa's scalp, yesterday switched into a defensive mode over the issue.

He said Krishna's name could not be included in the report as government officials did not cooperate with him.

No evidence
"Exclusion of Krishna's name was not deliberate. I had got a hint of the allegations against him, but the government was reluctant to provide records we asked for. Without any substantial evidence, we could not indict him," said Hegde.

But parts of the Lokayukta report, which was leaked to the media a couple of days before to its official submission on July 27, indicated Krishna in the mining scam, Hegde came on record to deny his involvement.

Yesterday in his complaint, Joseph added that Krishna during his tenure as the chief minister, not only sanctioned mining lease on old rates and incurred huge loss to the state exchequer, but also de-reserved forestland, despite vehement opposition from the department of forest and environment.

Illegal mining
"Going by the records of various government and Lokayukta reports, it can be concluded that Krishna was responsible for a large-scale illegal mining in the state and he could be termed as author of the mining scams," Joseph said.

Turning the tirade against Dharam Singh, the petitioner said the former chief minister, who during his tenure as the state head between 2004 and 2006 also held the portfolio of the department of mines and geology, ordered issuance of temporary transport permits for ferrying iron and manganese ores from agricultural patta plots not mentioned in the mining lease.

Loss of Rs 23.22 C
This scam has resulted in revenue loss to the state to the extent of Rs 23.22 crore. Therefore, under Section 12(3) of the Lokayukta Act, a separate recommendation is made to the Competent Authority to initiate appropriate proceedings against Dharam Singh for recovery of the loss caused by him to the state.
"The flow of the ill-gotten money by indulging in corruption has been invested into property acquired by Dharam Singh's family members," alleged Joseph.

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