Training its guns on Minister of State for Infrastructure Santosh S. Lad, who is in the eye of a storm for being the partner of a company that is charged with indulging in illegal mining, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday not only urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to drop him from the Ministry, but also announced that its leaders would meet Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Friday to persuade him to direct the Chief Minister to sack him.
“Before coming to power, the Congress had taken out a padayatra against illegal mining. After coming to power, the Chief Minister had declared that he would act sternly against illegal mining by implementing the Lokayukta report on illegal mining. Now, if he has any commitment to his promise, he must sack the Minister immediately. Otherwise we will conclude that the Congress padayatra was only a drama,” the former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda told a press conference in Bangalore on Thursday.
Referring to the recent revelations by the Samaj Parivartan Samudaya that Mr. Lad is a partner of the firm V.S. Lad & Sons that has been found by the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee, the CBI and the Lokayukta to have been involved in illegalities with respect to mining, Mr. Gowda said: “We may have to think that the Chief Minister is hand-in-glove with Mr. Lad, if he fails to sack him.”
He said the Lokayukta report had stated that the above company had transported 67,054.97 tonnes of iron ore to Belekeri port as against the permit to transport only 10,000 tonnes. He took serious exception to the Minister allegedly hiding the fact that he was partner of the above company which was accused of illegal mining. The true colour of the Congress is slowly revealing with the coming to light of Mr. Lad’s episode, he said. The former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar declared that the BJP would take to the streets if the Chief Minister failed to sack the Minister. He maintained that the Congress’ claims of keeping tainted leaders out of the Ministry had turned false as Mr. Lad was part of it. He also took exception to the Congress and the Chief Minister trying to defend Mr. Lad.