Rejecting Opposition’s demand for a CBI investigation into illegal mining, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday invited them instead to join a delegation headed by him to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to press for a total ban on iron ore exports.

“I have decided to lead a delegation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh either on July 17 or July 18 to plead for a ban on export of iron ore, which is a solution to end illegal mining,” Mr. Yeddyurappa told reporters here.

He said he has written letters to Opposition Congress and JDS to respond to his invitation.

“If they (Opposition) come, I will take them...else I will go on my own and meet the prime minister,” Mr. Yeddyurappa, who has been under attack from Opposition parties for his “failure” to check illegal mining, said.

Stating that there was no question of entrusting the illegal mining issue to a CBI probe under any circumstances, he alleged it was Congress and JDS leaders who are involved in it.

“These parties have been pressing for a CBI probe to ensure their leaders get a clean chit from the charges they face on illegal mining,” he said.

Mr. Yeddyurappa alleged that the Opposition’s main aim was to stall proceedings and that both parties have united on the mining issue for this purpose.

In an attempt to counter the Congress “padayatra” from Bangalore to Bellary on the mining issue, he said he would embark on tours in every district for three days a month after the legislature session concludes.

“Besides reviewing development works at district headquarters, I will also address public meetings to inform people about the government’s achievements and hurdles created by Opposition parties to development works. I will also meet farmers to discuss on organic farming methods,” he said.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said he would bring out a booklet on the mining issue during the regimes of S. M. Krishna, N. Dharam Singh, H. D. Kumaraswamy, as also that of his own government.

He also apologised to KPCC president R. V. Deshpande and senior Congress leader R. L. Jalappa for alleging that their relatives were involved in illegal mining.

“I had made such a statement based on information furnished by officials. But the information is not true.

Mr. Deshpande’s son had been sanctioned a mining license, but he has not started it,” he said.

Mr. Yeddyurappa had recently released a list of Congress leaders who are into mining, after the Opposition party trained its guns on his government over the issue.