Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde's final report on illegal mining, submitted to the State government on Wednesday, has indicted Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his Cabinet colleagues, including the Reddy brothers, B. Sriramulu, and V. Somanna.
Addressing a crowded press conference here, Mr. Hegde said the indictment of Mr. Yeddyurappa pertained to violations of the Prevention of Corruption Act. He submitted a copy of the report to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj.
“Having convinced myself that offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act have been made out, I have recommended to the Governor, who is the competent authority to take action against the Chief Minister, to initiate further steps.”
Mr. Hegde said the inquiry conducted by his team revealed two instances of violations by the Chief Minister and his family. The first pertained to the case “of a company that is dealing in iron, which made a donation of Rs. 10 crore to a trust managed by family members of the Chief Minister.” Terming the payment “abnormal,” he said: “The company, which made the donation, was itself not financially strong or stable.”
The second case pertained to the purchase of a one-acre plot at Rachenahalli, for which the same company paid the trust an inflated price. “The company paid Rs. 20 crore, whereas, according to the guidance value, the land [price] could not have been more than Rs.1.25 crore or Rs.1.40 crore.”
Mr. Hegde said the investigation “showed a lot of discrepancies.” “The evidence led to the incontrovertible conclusion on my part that these payments have been made for reasons other than genuine…”
The Lokayukta has also indicted the former Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy, for recommending issue of licences to two mining companies. Mr. Hegde said the inquiry found “large-scale involvement of officials, powerful people in the administration as well as people at the ground level in these illegalities.”
He said his team of officials examined more than four lakh records and collated 50 lakh entries. The report, along with annexures, runs to 25,228 pages. The main report consists of 945 pages. The illegalities of different types have been enumerated in 31 chapters.
“We have come to the conclusion that the loss caused to the exchequer between 2006 and 2010 is about Rs.16,085 crore,” Mr. Hegde said.
He suggested cancellation of the leases and recovering four times the value of stolen iron ore, as already suggested by the Central Empowered Committee.
Keywords: Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Reddy brothers, indictment, illegal mining, Lokayukta report, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Prevention of Corruption Act