‘Lokayukta report a scathing indictment on State machinery’

The Supreme Court has been moved for a CBI probe against the outgoing Karnataka Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, some former Chief Ministers, former Ministers, top bureaucrats and companies for their role in large-scale illegal mining in the State as pointed out by the Lokayukta.

The Samaj Parivartan Samudaya, on whose writ petition the court earlier ordered a survey by the Central Empowered Committee, has filed this application. It said the petitioner had drawn attention to the large-scale illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka (particularly in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts) and breakdown of governance in Karnataka on account of a nexus between politician-miners and officials which raised serious concerns over not only ecology and environment but also transparency and accountability in the functioning of the government.

Even as this petition was being heard, the Lokayukta report had been submitted. It “is a scathing indictment of the entire State machinery — the forests, mining, geology and transportation departments and the police — and encapsulates the systemic collapse that has happened in the region. The report brings out how the rule of law has ceased to exist under the all pervasive business-political-bureaucratic nexus which has allowed large-scale illegal mining in forest areas at highly unsustainable levels,” the applicant said.

The report “particularly deals with the districts of Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga, where the Lokayukta and the Chief Conservator of Forests found large-scale illegal mining and violation of lease conditions. The report also brings out the unsustainable nature of mining in Karnataka. It states: It is shocking to note that the most of the lease areas will be running out of deposits of iron ore in a span of 3 to 12 years. This unscientific and unsustainable extraction has caused a serious concern.”

The application said the report had named Mr. Yeddyurappa and former Chief Ministers, incumbent ministers, senior politicians, top public officials, Jindal Steel, the Obulapuram Mining Company, and State and Central public sector units, “for committing various kinds of illegalities which are also serious offences.”

It said: “Most of these transactions are absolutely clear instances of a quid pro quo amounting to a serious offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI is already investigating the mining scandal in the adjacent region of Bellary Reserve Forest, which falls in Andhra Pradesh, and the same officers can easily investigate the illegalities in Karnataka.”

The petitioner sought a direction to order a thorough probe by the CBI/SIT under the supervision of the Supreme Court into all aspects of illegal mining and mining in forest areas, and collusion of public servants and public representatives with mine owners, in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

The matter comes up for hearing on August 5.