Criticising the move, Mr. Hegde told The Hindu that the government had "committed an error" by transferring the official.
The former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde termed the transfer of Mines and Geology Director H.R. Srinivas as a clear case of “disobedience” of the apex court.
However, he said the government’s action could not be interpreted as “contempt of court”. The transfer was carried out despite a direction from the Supreme Court in March 2012 that the officer cannot be transferred for two years. He pointed out that the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), appointed by the Supreme Court, could bring this development to the notice of the court and seek corrective direction.
Criticising the move, Mr. Hegde told The Hindu that the government had “committed an error” by transferring the official.
The decision to ease out Mr. Srinivas makes one sceptical of the government’s commitment to tackle illegal mining, he said.
When asked about the Congress fielding D.K. Suresh — brother of Congress leader and former Minister D.K. Shivakumar in the bypolls to Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency — who is allegedly involved in illegal mining, he said he had made a reference to this in his report on losses caused to Mysore Minerals Ltd. by various politicians.
“Many of those named in the report have contested and won in the elections. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah might also be under pressure from various quarters to field him (D.K. Suresh),” he said.
Mr. Hegde said he had read reports of Congress leaders V.S. Ugrappa and K.C. Kondaiah urging the Chief Minister to order a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the entire gamut of issues related to illegal mining. “I still have hopes that he will act; we need to give the Chief Minister some time to act,” he added. He said he had some confidence in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah taking action, as the previous Chief Minister had refused to even make a statement promising to act on the report. Every political party has leaders involved in illegal mining and they will not allow their leader to act on a report that is detrimental to the interest of their leaders, he said. He said he was satisfied with the action taken by the apex court based on his reports and recommendations of the Central Empowered Committee and asking the CBI to probe the findings in his report.