KARNATAKA

Congress leaders hit out at Kumaraswamy

Special Correspondent

Cases have been filed against Shivakumar's kin in Bellary district Former Minister denies that iron ore was illegally stocked

BANGALORE: State Congress leaders on Wednesday accused Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of "unleashing political vendetta" against the former Minister D.K. Shivakumar and cited the filing of "false cases" on charges of storing iron ore illegally. They warned that the party would counter it politically.

Addressing presspersons here, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly N. Dharam Singh charged that following a Congress delegation petitioning the Chief Election Commissioner on the "misuse" of State machinery in the Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency, the State Government had been targeting Mr. Shivakumar and his family members.

Mr. Dharam Singh said Forest officials of Bellary had filed false cases against Shivakumar's wife Usha Shivakumar, brother D.K. Sureshkumar and four other family members on charges of storing iron ore illegally at Nandihalli in Sandur taluk of Bellary district. Four employees of PKP Company, engaged in iron ore export, had also been arrested, he said.

Mr. Dharam Singh accused the Janata Dal (S) of resorting to vindictive politics. The BJP had surrendered the Chamundeshwari seat to its coalition partner for remaining in power, he alleged and said that the Congress candidate and former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah would emerge victorious in the byelection on December 4. Mr. Shivakumar said his family members were "sleeping partners" in PKP Company and cases had been booked against them under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The company got iron ore from Mysore Minerals Limited (MML) on permit and exported it. The question of holding illegal stock of iron ore did not arise, he said.

"Through these actions the Chief Minister cannot prevent me from campaigning in Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency," he declared.

The MML had failed to supply iron ore to 120 companies at prices mentioned by it. This was despite a High Court order in August 2005 directing the company to supply iron ore at higher prices. As such, the companies had initiated contempt of court proceedings against MML.The former Speaker of the Assembly Ramesh Kumar and Dinesh Gundu Rao, MLA, were present.

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