BANGALORE: The Special Court on Saturday ordered a probe into a private complaint against external affairs minister S M Krishna over alleged illegal mining.
Judge N K Sudhindra Rao directed Lokayukta additional director general of police (ADGP) H N Satyanarayana Rao probe under section 156(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) and submit the report by January 6. The court also directed the police to register a case and probe two other former Karnataka chief ministers - N Dharam Singh and H D Kumaraswamy - over illegal mining controversy. With this, Congress, which was free from allegations in connection with illegal mining, has joined BJP and JD(S) bandwagon in the row.
The private complaint accusing Krishna, Singh and Kumaraswamy of corruption was filed by a businessman and activist, Abraham T J. The complaint accuses Krishna of destroying the state's natural resources for personal gain, while serving as chief minister between 1999 and 2004. The complainant described Krishna's decision to de-reserve forest areas as the beginning of the illegal mining scam. "He ignored the advice of the department secretary and ordered for dereservation. It led to all kinds of illegalities,'' the complainant stated.
Charging Krishna with illegally amassing wealth in the name of his family members and erstwhile cabinet colleagues, the complainant submitted copies of the documents, obtained under RTI, related to investments made by a son-in-law of Krishna. On Friday, the court sought clarifications from the complainant. When the court asked if he has adopted a 'selective' approach in naming the accused, he said: "Other people who have not been mentioned in the complaint are already before this court."
It was a reference to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa. Abraham said though there was no direct reference to show Krishna benefited, the documents showed that at the time corresponding to the de-reservation of land, properties were acquired in and around Bangalore in the name of his son-in-law. When the judge asked why he didn't approach the Lokayukta police before petitioning the court, Abraham said that people had lost confidence in the Lokayukta police after Justice Santosh N Hegde retirement. The court asked Abraham to submit second set of documents by Tuesday.
Besides Krishna, two other former CMs Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy, both are MPs now, and 11 senior officials have been accused of conspiracy and corruption. The complainant stated that Singh ordered issuance of temporary transport permits for the movement of iron and manganese ore from agricultural patta lands, resulting in a loss of Rs 23.22 crore to the government. He stated that Kumaraswamy had illegally approved a mining lease in 550 acres of land in favour of Shree Sai Venkateshwara Minerals and committed illegalities with Jantkal Mining Company.
Referring to sanctions required to move against the former chief ministers, the complainant stated that he had written to the Lok Sabha speaker and the Rajya Sabha chairman. They replied it was not essential at this stage and would consider it when the chargesheet was framed.
Senior officials named include Gangaram Baderia, Basappa Reddy, I R Perumal, Jija Harisingh, Mahendra Jain, K S Manjunath, Ramappa, Shankarlingaiah and V Umesh.
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