“His decision to de-reserve forest land and parcel it out to a few individuals caused irreparable loss to natural wealth”

Abraham T. J., on whose complaint the Karnataka Lokayukta ordered a probe against External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, has filed an application with Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati, seeking his sanction for initiating criminal proceedings against Mr. Krishna.

A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and S.S. Nijjar extended the stay on all further proceedings pursuant to the registration of a First Information Report, which permitted a police probe, on the basis of the Lokayukta report, into Mr. Krishna's alleged role in the de-reservation of 11, 620 sq. km. of forestland when he was Chief Minister from 1999 to 2004.

At the ‘mention' time on January 27, the Bench stayed the proceedings and sought the government's response. On Friday, the State of Karnataka sought time to file its reply. The Bench granted four weeks and adjourned the hearing till then.

In his application filed with the Attorney-General, Mr. Abraham said Mr. Krishna had wilfully abused his authority; and he not only disrespected the Supreme Court's orders intentionally but also disobeyed them wilfully.

He alleged that Mr. Krishna's decision, made in violation of the court orders, caused a great deal of irreparable loss to the nation's natural wealth, cost the exchequer and benefited a few individuals who indulged in illegal mining.

He said the then Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde, in his report to the government, had dedicated an entire chapter to the subject of illegal de-reservation of forest land and the irregularities in the allotment of de-reserved areas to private persons when Mr. Krishna ruled the State.

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