Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Monday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to form a committee headed by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to probe allegations of phone tapping made by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde.
As the opposition parties piled up pressure demanding his resignation on the issue of Lokayukta’s report indicting him in the illegal mining scam and telephone tapping charge, Mr. Yeddyurappa wrote a letter to Dr Singh requesting him to form the committee.
Mr. Yeddyurappa has suggested that the committee can nominate former Prime Minister and JDS supremo H D Devegowda, his son H D Kumaraswamy, Opposition Congress leader in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah, and Justice Hegde as its members, sources close to the chief minister said.
Rejecting allegations of phone tapping, Mr. Yeddyurappa in his letter has also denied any role in the leakage of the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.
Earlier, on his arrival from a holiday in Mauritius, Mr. Yeddyurappa described as “an unpardonable crime” the alleged phone-tapping of Hegde and sought an inquiry into the issue by a Central team and while denying his or his party’s hand in it.
He said he was “very much hurt” about the phone—tapping issue and added that had the Lokayukta reported the matter to the Central government, a probe would have taken place by now.
“Even now, it’s not too late. I am going to request the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) to send one important team to inquire into the phone-tapping”, he said. “Our party and me do not have such a character to do this unpardonable crime (phone-tapping).”
The Lokayukta, who has indicted Mr. Yeddyurappa, his four Ministers and others in the mining scam in the leaked report that has raised a political storm, had claimed last week that his phone had been tapped.
Karnataka government has asserted that it had not ordered tapping of telephone of the Lokayukta, who on Saturday hinted at the possible involvement of a political party behind it.
Reacting to Mr. Yeddyurappa’s remarks, Justice Hegde said he welcomed a probe by a Central team into the telephone—tapping issue.
He said, “That’s correct. That should be done. I welcome it”.