Karnataka gets cabinet; ex-minister jailed, Yeddyurappa, Kumaraswamy summoned (Night Lead)

August 8th, 2011 - 11:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, Aug 8 (IANS) On a day of swift political developments Monday, 21 ministers were inducted into the new Karnataka ministry while former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Katta Subramanya Naidu was jailed in a graft case and summons were served on former chief ministers B.S. Yeddyurappa and H.D. Kumaraswamy in land and mining scams.

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda was forced to go in for two-phase cabinet formation, swearing in only 21 ministers in the first phase, as differences persisted in the faction-ridden ruling party over the induction of 12 more ministers in the 34-member cabinet.

Even as party leaders and lawmakers were squabbling over the ministerial berths, a local court in the city rejected bail applications of former BJP minister Katta Subramanya Naidu and his son Katta Jagadish, a BJP corporator in the city local body, and ordered them to be taken into judicial custody.

In a related development, the same court also summoned the scam-hit Yeddyurappa to appear Aug 27 in a graft case of illegal land deals and ordered the Lokayukta police to probe into a corruption case filed against him by JD-S lawmaker Y.S. Datta. It also summoned former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to appear on Aug 30.

The omission from the new ministry of the powerful Reddy brothers — G. Karunakara and G. Janaradhana along with B. Sriramulu from the mineral-rich Bellary district — was conspicuous though V. Somanna, who was also indicted in the multi-crore mining scam, was inducted in the first phase.

Gowda, however, declined to comment on the omission of Reddy brothers and inclusion of Somanna.

“As the cabinet expansion exercise is still on, it is not appropriate for me to comment on who have been omitted and included,” he told reporters later.

The then Karnataka Lokayukta (ombudsman) N.Santosh Hedge July 27 recommended dropping the Reddy brothers and Sriramulu from the Yeddyurappa ministry as they were found guilty in the mining scam under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj administered oath of office and secrecy to the 21 ministers simultaneously in four rounds at a short notice on the sprawling Raj Bhavan, as hectic parleys between the rival factions continued till an hour before the swearing-in ceremony.

The ministers are: Jagadish Shettar, R. Ashoka, V.S. Acharya, C.M. Udasi, Govind M. Karajol, S. Suresh Kumar, Shobha Karandlaje, Vishwanath Hegde Kageri, S.A. Ravindranath, Umesh Katti, Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani, S. A. Ramdas, Revu Naik Belamagi, Lakshman Savadi, B.N. Bachche Gowda, M.P. Renukaracharya, V.Somanna, Krishna Palemar, C.C. Patil and A. Narayanaswamy.

Karandlaje is the lone woman minister in the ministry as she was in the first BJP government in south India under Yeddyurappa.

At an informal cabinet meeting held soon after the oath-taking, Gowda directed all the new ministers to continue to hold the same portfolios they did in the previous government.

As the ministers took oath in Kannada simultaneously while their supporters kept shouting slogans, they could not be heard clearly due to cacophony in the midst of rain on a cloudy evening.

Katta Subramanya Naidu and his son Katta Jagadish are accused of taking a kickback of Rs.87 crore from S.V. Srinivas, managing director of Itasca software firm, for allotment of 325 acres of land near Bangalore when Naidu was state industries minister in the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S)-BJP coalition government in 2006-07.

Though Naidu was in the Yeddyurappa government as minister of IT and science and technology, he resigned in December 3, 2010 — a day after police attached to ombudsman filed the case against him and seven others.

Additional city civil and sessions court judge N.K. Sudhindra Rao directed Yeddyurappa and 14 others, including his two sons B.Y. Vijayendra and B.Y.Raghavendra and son-in-law Sohan Kumar on a private complaint filed by two advocates for allegedly profiting to the tune of Rs.30 crore from illegal de-notification of lands around Bangalore.

Rao also summoned Kumaraswamy and his wife Anita, a lawmaker, to appear before the local court Aug 30 over the grant of a mining lease and favouring a housing society by flouting rules.

The summons were issued on a complaint by a city advocate Vinod Kumar charging Kumaraswamy with granting the mining lease to Jantakkal company and illegally allotting land to a housing society, which in return gave a residential plot to Anita.

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