Former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde has said that the Karnataka government should "take a lesson" from the Andhra Pradesh government and seek a CBI probe into illegal mining in the State.

He expressed satisfaction over the arrest of former minister and mining baron G. Janardhana Reddy by the CBI early on Monday. He said, "It will be interesting to know what he says during an interrogation under custody. The effect of a hostile interrogation will be very different…"

Speaking to The Hindu at his residence a few hours after Monday’s high-profile arrest, Justice Hegde averred that only a comprehensive probe into violations in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh by a central investigation agency can unearth the full scam and nail the guilty.

Pointing out that the CBI has no jurisdiction, at present, to investigate illegal mining in Karnataka he said that the agency will have a tough time restricting its probe only to those mining violations that occurred in Andhra Pradesh. He said that the guilty, unlike the CBI and the Karnataka Lokayukta, were not restricted by either State or national boundaries.

He also said that the two reports into illegal mining in the State, compiled during his tenure, should come in handy in the ongoing CBI probe against the Obulapuram Mining Company and the Anantapur Mining Company owned by the Reddys.

Good sign

He also said that it is a "good sign" that several powerful people in the State had been "brought down to earth" in the past few months. Referring to the rapid pace at which the cases are progressing in the courts against former Chief Ministers B.S. Yeddyurappa and H.D. Kumaraswamy as well as former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, he said that these are unprecedented developments. "The investigating agencies are, obviously, doing their job very well," he said.

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