KARNATAKA

Judicial probe sought into `land scam'

BANGALORE, AUG. 14. The President of the State unit of the Janata Dal (United), B. Somashekar, has said that though the Janata Dal (Secular) is "changing" its stand on land scams, his party will campaign for a judicial probe into the scandals allegedly involving those who were part of the previous Government.

Mr Somashekar told The Hindu here today that the coalition Government had not started functioning and there was no administration in the past three months.

War of words

He said both the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) were fighting over trivial issues, and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna were involved in a bitter letter campaign. "It is common knowledge that the governments headed by Mr. Krishna and the one headed by Mr. Deve Gowda earlier were guilty of several commissions and omissions," he added.

He said the judicial inquiry on the land scam should have the contents of Mr. Deve Gowda's and Mr. Krishna's letters to the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, as the terms of reference. It was ironical that the Janata Dal (S), which had defended the land acquisition and denotification of lands by the previous Government in the Legislature, was seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation outside the legislature, he said and added this exposed the double standards of the Janata Dal (S).

Mr. Somashekar demanded that the Government, in the light of the statement of former Chief Minister M. Veerappa Moily on admissions to professional courses, should issue a `White paper' on the issue. He blamed the previous Government for the confusion over admissions to professional colleges, and alleged that it had not defended the various cases in the Supreme Court appropriately, particularly the one involving the T.M.A. Pai institution. The State Government should have defended the Common Entrance Test rules of 1997, which had ensured a transparent system of admissions and was as per the Karnataka Abolition of Capitation Fee Act and the Karnataka Education Act, he added.

He accused Mr. Moily of attempting to mislead the people to divert their "wrath" against the Congress for its "failures." Mr. Moily had held the previous Government of the National Democratic Alliance responsible for the confusion and said efforts were now being made to serve the interest of the students, he said. Mr. Somashekar demanded President's rule in the State "in the light of maladministration" caused by the lack of coordination between the coalition partners. He said there were clashes between the workers of the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) in several districts, and the police were helpless.

Poojary criticised

He criticised the reported statements of the President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, B. Janardhana Poojary, asking the Janata Dal (S) leaders to observe "dharma" and refrain from complaining against the "misdeeds" of the previous Government. He said that the Janata Dal (U) would press for an independent probe into scams.

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