M A I N   N E W S

Yeddyurappa under pressure as Governor promises action
Bhardwaj says if Lokayukta recommends CM’s removal, he will accept it
Shubhadeep Choudhury/TNS

Bangalore, July 22
The noose seems to be tightening around Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa’s neck with the Governor H R Bhardwaj today saying that if the Lokayukta Santosh Hegde recommended Yeddyurappa’s removal from Chief Minister’s post, he would accept it. Talking to reporters on the sideline of a function here today, Bhardwaj said, “Whatever he (Lokayukta) will recommend, I will go according to that”.

Bhardwaj, who has been at loggerheads with Yeddyurappa, said the Lokayukta would give the report to the Chief Secretary who would pass it on to the Chief Minister. “If as a competent authority, he (Lokayukta) sends the report to me, then I will deal with it according to Section 13 of the Lokayukta Act”, Bhardwaj said.

Section 13 of the Lokayukta Act, which goes under the heading of “Public servant to vacate office if directed by Lokayukta etc”, gives the Lokayukta the power to recommend removal of the Chief Minister from office if the Lokayukta after going through the complaint against him felt that the CM should not continue to hold the post. The competent authority (Governor in case the accused person is Chief Minister) can either accept or reject the recommendation.

In case the Governor accepts the recommendation of the Lokayukta about removal of the CM, it will be deemed that the CM has resigned from his office the day the Governor’s decision to accept the Lokayukta’s recommendation has been intimated to him. Lokayukta Hegde had held Yeddyurappa’s family members, including his sons, guilty of accepting illegal gratification from mining companies. It is still not clear what action he has recommended against Yeddyurappa.

Asked whether he would give a copy of his report about illegal mining in Karnataka to Governor, Hegde said, “I have no problem in giving him the report if he asks for it”.

Given the eagerness betrayed by Bhardwaj on many occasions in going after the BJP government in the state, it is quite certain that he will ask the Lokayukta for a copy of the report.

Besides Yeddyurappa, the report has also named four Cabinet ministers of Karnataka, JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Congress MP Anil Lad and others as being a part of the business of illegal mining.

On whether he would ask Yeddyurappa to resign if the report indeed indicted the Chief Minister, the Governor said he would first have to see “what's written about the Chief Minister, ministers, MLAs and MPs” in the report.

Noting that the report was yet to be submitted, the Governor said as one who holds constitutional office he cannot comment on leaked information, and neither can he talk about his proposed action, lest he would be accused of being “biased and this and that”.

Bhardwaj said he respects Justice Hegde a lot and has known him since the days he was Advocate General when Ramakrishna Hegde was Karnataka Chief Minister. “ He is a very respected (former) Judge in the country”, he said.

No mention of Krishna in report

Santosh Hegde said the names of former Congress Chief Ministers SM Krishna and Dharam Singh did not figure in his report on illegal mining.

One English daily on Friday published a page one report saying SM Krishna had been also indicted in the report that covered illegal mining in the state during 2000-2010 period. Krishna, now the External Affairs Minister, was Chief Minister of Karnataka from 1999 to 2004.

Krishna, who is in Bali now, is reportedly planning to file a defamation case against the paper.

While Dharam Singh was indicted in the interim report on illegal mining submitted by Lokayukta Hegde in 2008, there is no mention of him in the final report. This was confirmed by Hegde to journalists here on Friday.





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