Bangalore, Jul 21: In a strong indictment of Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, state Lokayukta Justice Santosh N Hegde today said he has given “substantive” and “voluminous” evidence against him in the illegal mining scam which has cost the state exchequer Rs 1800 crore in a period of 14 months.
Terming the illegal mining scam as a “huge racket”, Hegde said, “In the time period of 14 months, it is more than Rs 1800 crore.The time period is between March 2009 to May 2010. It is loss to the state exchequer”.
Report has given substantive evidence whether it's the Chief Minister, Ministers and miners. “It's a voluminous evidence”, he said.
“As a matter of fact, the Chief Minister is responsible for what's happening in (mineral rich district of) Bellary because the Minister in Charge (of the district G Janardhana Reddy) is owner of a mining company (Obalapuram Mining) and a mafia-like situation is created with every official being involved. They have created a new system altogether by which they could literally bleed other mining companies”, Hegde told PTI.
Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, said the leak of the report would not have any impact as it would not question the validity of the report, which he was expected to submit to the Government by Monday.
Attacking the BJP over the illegal mining issue, Congress today demanded the resignation of Yeddyurappa.
“Yeddyurappa must immediately resign from his post,”Congress Spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said while questioning the “silence” of the BJP leadership over the “illegal mining” in Karnataka and alleged that was happening with their consent. The BJP, for its part, said it was too early to react to the report.
Asked if there were instances of money got by illegal mining being parked in tax havens overseas, Hegde said: “We have some instances.....this happened. We have recommended that Enforcement Directorate should enquire into it (affairs of Obalapuram Mining Company)”.
Obalapuram Mining company is owned by Janaradhana Reddy and his family, with brother and Minister G Karuanakara Reddy and another Minister from Bellary, B Sriramulu being partners.
Hegde said there are instances of this company where the money earned against iron ore exports not being brought back to India (indicating that money was parked overseas). Besides Yeddyurappa, the Reddy brothers, Sriramulu, the report has also indicted former Chief Minister and JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy, another Minister of Yeddyurappa cabinet, V Somanna, Congress Rajya Sabha member Anil Lad and BJP MLA from Kudligi in Bellary district Nagendra.
Hegde said the Obalapuram Mining Company has evolved a system of “zero risk”. “You (the miners in Bellary) give them (the company) 40 to 50 per cent of your produce, your produce will be transported by this group...”. Even if the lorries carrying this ore are caught, the company would pay compound fee and get them released and saw to it that the ore is exported.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the party will wait for the report on illegal mining in the state to be made public before coming out with any reaction and asked the Congress to first take action against those named in the Shunglu Committee and Delhi Lokayukta report.
“The Shunglu Committee had indicted the Sheila Dikshit Government in the Commonwealth Games and the Delhi Lokayukta had recommended to the President that action should be taken against her minister Rajkumar Chauhan in the Tivoli Garden case. Nothing has been done in these two cases. Congress should first respond to this,” he said. PTI