BJP, Congress sparring continues over Lokayuka report (Evening lead)

July 22nd, 2011 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore/New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday traded charges over illegal mining in Karnataka and the continuation of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa since he has been indicted by Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde.

The chief minister, who is holidaying in Mauritius, is expected to fly to New Delhi from there on Sunday or Monday to brief BJP central leaders on the Lokayukta’s findings on his and his four ministers’ role in illegal iron mining.

In Bangalore, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, who has been highly critical of Yeddyurappa and his government, said he would act according to the law once he gets the Lokayukta’s report, expected to be submitted next week.

The state Congress leaders said they suspected Yeddyurappa’s hand in the tapping of the Lokayukta’s phone. “These things cannot happen without the knowledge and permission of the chief minister,” leader of opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah told reporters.

The state BJP, however, dismissed the charge and said Lokayukta should decide on the agency to probe tapping of his phone. “We agree this is a serious matter. It should be probed,” state unit chief K.S. Eshwarappa said.

State Home Minister V.S. Acharya said in Bangalore that Yeddyurappa will go to Delhi from Mauritius for talks with party leaders and then return to Bangalore.

In the meantime, Hegde denied reports in a section of the media that he has named former chief minister S.M. Krishna, now India’s foreign minister, in his report.

“I have not named former state chief ministers S.M. Krishna and N. Dharam Singh in the report. The report, however, has a mention about the impropriety involved in de-reserving 11, 620 sq. km of forest area in the state for mining and allotment of mining leases to select firms in 2003 when Krishna was the chief minister,” Hegde told IANS.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Prasad Rudy, however, banked on such reports to hit back at Congress for demanding Yeddyurappa’s resignation.

He asked in New Delhi Friday whether Congress would sack Krishna from the central cabinet on the basis of speculation.

A copy of the final report would be sent to governor Bhardwaj for his perusal, Hegde said.

“I am not joining the issue with the state governor. If he wants the report, I will send him a copy as I am entitled under the provisions of the Lokayukta Act as he is the constitutional head of the state,” he said.

Hegde said: “The report will be first submitted to the state government by our registrar (Moosa Kunhi Nayar) probably on Monday. If the governor does not get a copy from the state government as it is expected to send him, I will be within my rights to send a copy of the report to him.”

“I have sought protection to the five investigation officers from the state government as there is professional and personal threat to them from the powerful politicians, ministers and officials who have been named in the report,” he added.

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