JD-S rubbishes Reddy’ claims of not mining in Karnataka (Roundup)

July 20th, 2010 - 1:14 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, July 19 (IANS) Within hours of Karnataka Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy charging that several Congress leaders and not him were into illegal iron ore mining in the state, Janata Dal-Secular leaders Monday asserted he was involved in the scam.
“Reddy owns a trading firm called Anantapuram Mining Company and has paid large sums to another firm, Black Gold Mining Company, to illegally mine and export huge quantities of iron ore from Karnataka,” former chief minister and JD-S state chief H. D. Kumaraswamy told reporters.

He was responding to claim by Reddy earlier in the day that all his mining activity were in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and “not even an inch in Karnataka”.

Kumaraswamy said that while Reddy was talking about the Obulapuram Mining Company which has mines in Andhra Pradesh, he had been silent on the Anantapuram Mining Company, whose address is given as Bellary, the iron-ore rich district in Karnataka bordering Andhra Pradesh.

Bellary is the political base of the Reddy brothers - Janardhana, elder brother Revenue Minister G. Karunakara, and legislator G. Somashekara.

Kumraswamy circulated court orders and reports of forest officials of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka at the press meet.

These, he said, establish that “the Black Gold Mining Company had cheated officials and the courts by claiming it was only transporting stored iron ore while in fact it had indulged in fresh mining”.

Reddy had hit out at the Congress party by naming a few Congress leaders, including two former ministers, as involved in the illegal mining in Bellary district.

Quoting from an interim report of state Lok Ayukta (ombudsman) Justice (retd) N. Santosh Hegde, Reddy told reporters that former ministers Y.M. Ghorpade and Allum Veerabhadrappa, ex-Lok Sabha member H.G. Ramulu, Rajya Sabha member Anil Lad and his brother and state legislator Santosh Lad of the Congress were involved in illegal mining and encroaching on forest land.

“Mining companies owned and run by the families of these Congressmen have been involved in illegal mining and encroaching over 100 hectares of forest lands in Bellary district without paying royalty to the state government over the last two-three decades,” Reddy claimed, releasing select documents from the interim report.

Meanwhile Congress leaders in Karnataka announced that they will launch a “Bellary bachao (Save Bellary)” movement with a “padyatra” (march) from Bangalore to Bellary, about 300 km away, July 25.

The march will culminate in a rally in the Reddy brothers stronghold Aug 9.

In related developments, S. B. Majage, a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court, was Monday sworn in as Upa-Lok Ayukta (deputy ombudsman) by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj at Raj Bhavan.

The post was vacant for over six months.

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