Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday warned of action against the officials from the Department of Food and Civil Supplies if there was

dereliction of duty in the implementation of Anna Bhagya scheme, the flagship programme of the Congress government in the State.

Replying to questions about the complaints of malpractices in the implementation of Anna Bhagya and sale of rice meant for distribution under the scheme in the open market here, the Chief Minister said the officials would be held responsible in case of discrepancies in the

implementation of Anna Bhagya.

Speaking to reporters at Lalitha Mahal helipad before leaving for Mandya to attend the rally of Congress President Sonia Gandhi later in the day, Mr. Siddaramaiah denied reports in a section of press that he

had intervened in a decision made by the Police Establishment Board (PEB) on the transfer of police officers. Even Home Minister K.J. George has no role in the transfers, he clarified.

The Chief Minister said he has been vested with powers to transfer officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above. “The transfer of police officers is decided by the Board.”

Replying to questions on the demand from the BJP and others for sacking Information Minister Santosh Lad over the charges of illegal mining, Mr. Siddaramaiah maintained that his Cabinet colleague was “not

involved in illegal mining.” Mr. Lad’s mining firm had been brought under Category C classification by the CEC not for illegal mining but for “overburden dumps”, he observed.

Asked about Samaj Parivarthan Samudaya President S.P. Hiremath’s accusations against Mr. Lad, the Chief Minister defended Mr. Lad and asked Mr. Hiremath to produce documentary evidence against his Cabinet

colleague.

On the reported statement of former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda on illegal mining, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the BJP leader has no moral right to speak on the issue of illegal mining. “He (Mr. Gowda) did not raise his voice against illegal mining when his party was in power and he was the Chief Minister. It is the Congress

party which fought against illegal mining and it will continue to do so,” he stated.

Asked about Ms. Sonia Gandhi’s rally at Mandya, Mr. Siddaramaiah said Ms. Gandhi could not visit the State immediately after the Legislative Assembly elections. The Legislative Assembly polls were followed by the by-elections to Mandya and Bangalore Rural Parliamentary constituencies. Ms. Gandhi's arrival today has brought enthusiasm among party workers, he said.

Congress General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Digvijay Singh was present.

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