Now, Krishna wades into mining scam muddle

Published: Nov 30, 2011, 06:34 IST | B V Shiva Shanakar |

Even as BJP criticises Justice N Santosh Hegde for not having indicted the Foreign Minister in his report, documents prove that Krishna helped illegal mining in his capacity as CM

Even as BJP criticises Justice N Santosh Hegde for not having indicted the Foreign Minister in his report, documents prove that Krishna helped illegal mining in his capacity as CM

Even as former Lokayukta Justice N Santhosh Hegde has been under attack from an embattled BJP for not indicting S M Krishna in his mining scam report that claimed the scalp of B S Yeddyurappa, documents (available with MiD DAY) establish that the foreign minister abetted businessmen involved in illegal mining when he was the chief minister between 1999 and 2004.

Petitioner S R Hiremat claims to have incriminating documents to prove that S M Krishna abetted illegal mining during his tenure as chief minister

The petitioners, on whose public interest litigation (PIL) the Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe into illegal mining in the state, have pieced together incriminating evidence, establishing that Krishna helped illegal mining in his capacity as the state head.

"There are documents to show S M Krishna deliberately allowed a particular mining company continue mining even after it was found fraudulent. He didn't stop operations of the company despite the ministry of steel asking him in writing to prevent it from doing so," said S R Hiremat, the main petitioner.

He added that the petitioners would bring these issues, including the allegations against Krishna, to the notice of the Supreme Court.

The company in question is Deccan Mining Syndicate (DMS), which was founded by AICC member and state congress treasurer late S M Jain and is run by his son Rajendra. It still boasts a mining lease for an area of 50 acre near Doni Malai near Sandoor in Bellary.

The 20-year lease licence issued in 1965 was renewed thrice till 2006. But, the then S M Krishna government allegedly turned a blind eye to illegal activities carried out by the company and did not take action against it.

The licence, originally issued to one M J Boal, was transferred to DMS in 1980 following which the company allegedly started encroaching upon mining areas belonging to other firms. DMS allegedly encroached upon around 20.7 acre belonging to National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), a public sector company.

Following repeated complaints from NMDC over encroachment, the director of mines and geology recommended rejecting the application of DMS for second renewal on 13 June 1997, but left a leeway of imposing penalty and granting it renewal for the errant firm.

"But going by the amount of illegalities committed by DMS, the option of imposing penalty and granting the renewal of licence looks like an eyewash. It shows how the S M Krishna government was soft peddling on the company," said one of the petitioners.

While it is not clear whether the government imposed the penalty, errant DMS got away with all its irregularities and managed to get its licence renewed.

However, the criminal nature of the fraud committed by the company came to light at latter stage. It was found that DMS forged transport permits and created fake trip sheets to transfer iron ore illegally, bleeding the exchequer of hundreds crores of rupees.

Interestingly, the issue was raised by Yeddyurappa when he was the opposition leader in the legislative council. When the BJP stalwart asked a question in the house on 9 Jan 2004, the then chief minister S M Krishna admitted the fraud committed by DMS and ordered a COD probe into it.

Thereafter, the issue was put on the back burner and there was no progress in the probe also, while DMS was allowed continue its mining activities.

"When the company was found fraudulent and was facing a COD inquiry, its mining activities had to be stopped. But, the government did not bother to do so. And that is why we are questioning Krishna's role in the whole episode," said Hiremat.

The other side
While the exposure could cause tremors in the political circles at the national as well as state level at, the foreign minister's supporters denied his involvement. "Krishna has nothing to do with so-called illegal mining done by DMS or any other mining company.

Though he was the chief minister then, some other minister was heading mines and geology. They are just making false allegations against our leader. Let them first produce the documents and then we will react," said Raghavendra Shastri, a spokesperson to Krishna.

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