After landing a string of politicians from the BJP in the dock, the Special Lokayukta (Anti-corruption) Court on Saturday ordered the Lokayukta police to register FIRs against three former Chief Ministers from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular). The order was passed under Section 156 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The Additional Director-General of Police of the Lokayukta police will now investigate allegations of complicity in the State's mining scam levelled against External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Congress MP N. Dharam Singh and JD(S) MP H.D. Kumaraswamy during their tenures as Chief Minister. The investigation will also focus on the alleged role of 11 senior bureaucrats in the mining scam.
Issuing the order based on a complaint by activist Abraham T.J., the court has set January 6 as the deadline for submission of the investigation report. If the investigating agency finds evidence in the allegations, the FIR will culminate in the filing of a charge sheet before the court.
Mr. Abraham's complaint is primarily based on the two reports on illegal mining submitted to the State Government by the Lokayukta at the time when N. Santosh Hegde headed it. His core allegation is that policy decisions taken by Mr. Krishna between 1999 and 2004, when he was the Chief Minister, and his two successors, paved way for private mining companies to plunder the State's mineral wealth.
Mr. Abraham, who represented himself in court, was at pains to impress upon the court that these policy decisions were not merely misguided but also deliberate and ill-intentioned acts of “commission and omission” to cause gains for mining corporations at the cost of the State exchequer.
He said Mr. Krishna's decision to de-reserve forest land in the State and enter into public-private partnership mining agreements allowed corporations to not just convert pristine forests into mines but also encroach upon thousands of acres. This was done with the full knowledge and complicity of the State Government, which chose not to do anything about it.