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Yeddyurappa under fire from all sides
Shubhadeep Choudhury/TNS

Bangalore, July 21
Beleaguered Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, who is under fire after his name “appeared” in a report by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde on illegal mining, which leaked yesterday, suffered another major setback today as the High Court allowed the Lokayukta police to investigate land scam and corruption charges against the CM and his kin.

All eyes are now on Hegde, who will officially hand over the report to the government by June 25. “Finishing touches are being given to the report. By Monday (July 25), it should be submitted to the government,” an official attached to the Lokayukta said. Talking to the media, Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge and now a member of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee panel, today defended the charges made by him against Yeddyurappa in the report.

The report said a mining company and its sister concerns made two donations each of several crores to two trusts run by Yeddyurappa’s family members. It also mentions an instance of the mining company having bought a piece of land near the Bangalore International Airport from Yeddyurappa’s two sons, including MP BY Raghavendra, by paying them ten times the market price of the land.

Hegde also stood by the finding in the report that state Tourism Minister Janardhana Reddy, his elder brother and Revenue Minister Karunakara Reddy and Health Minister B Sreeramulu (a close associate of the Reddys) were running a lucrative racket in the iron ore rich district of Bellary by extorting money from the mine-owners there. While Yeddyurappa is in Mauritius for a holiday, Janardhana Reddy, the super rich mining baron, too is abroad. Former Chief Minister and JD(S) state chief HD Kumaraswamy is another high profile politician named in the report. The report held Kumaraswamy guilty of giving mining license to two firms out of turn when he was Chief Minister. Jantakal, one of the two companies favoured by Kumaraswamy, was allowed to illegally transport ore in Chitrdurga. Company owner Vinod Goel had created fake environment clearance documents.

Kumaraswamy said he would be able to better explain his stand with regard to the charges made against him in the report once its contents were made public officially. “If I am named, I am not going to run away”, Kumaraswamy said. Karnataka Housing Minister V?Somanna, a close associate of Yeddyurappa, also finds a mention in the report. His two sons, Arun and Naveen, were found having stakes in Mata Minerals, which is allegedly involved in illegal mining in Tumkur.

The accused politicians continue to hide behind the excuse that they would not like to react to a leaked report. Hegde today also alleged that his office phone was being tapped and he had to change it to safeguard the confidentiality of his conversations.

Meanwhile, Justice KN Keshavanarayana cancelled the stay he had ordered on the trial court proceedings in five cases filed against Yeddyurappa, his two sons, son-in-law and others.

The judge had granted the stay in March on a petition by Yeddyurappa’s son-in-law R. Sohan Kumar challenging the trial court order asking the Lokayukta police to probe five complaints against the Chief Minister, his kin and others. The five complaints were filed in January by two Bangalore advocates Sirajin Bhasha and KN Balaraj after Governor HR Bhardwaj granted them permission to file criminal cases against Yeddyurappa and others on charges of corruption and illegal land deals.

Yeddyurappa has also filed a separate petition challenging the sanction accorded for his prosecution by Governor Bhardwaj over alleged land scams and corruption charges. The petition is slated to come up in Chief Justice JS Khehar’s court on or after July 25.





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