Ready to quit if phone-tapping charges proved: Yeddyurappa (Lead)

July 25th, 2011 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Bangalore, July 25 (IANS) A defiant Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Monday declared that he would resign from the post and active politics if the charges that state agencies tapped phones of the Lokayukta and opposition leaders were proved.

“If the charges of tapping phones of the Lokayukta and opposition leaders by our government are proved, I will not only resign from the chief minister’s post, but quit active politics,” Yeddyurappa told reporters here at a crowded press conference he called within hours of his return from a week-long family holiday in Mauritius.

The controversy broke out last week after Hegde suspected that tapping of his phones caused the leakage of his mining scam report in a section of the media. The Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) also petitioned Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to order a probe into the tapping of their phones too.

Asked if he would resign if the explosive investigation report of ombudsman Justice N. Santosh Hegde on the multi-crore mining scam indicted him as he was also in-charge of the mining department, Yeddyurappa told IANS that he had no answer to a hypothetical question as the voluminous report had not been made pubic yet.

“Wait for two more days as the Lokayukta is scheduled to submit his report to the (state) government Wednesday. I will respond appropriately only after studying the report and its recommendations,” Yeddyurappa told IANS on the margins of the media conference.

Refuting allegations of the opposition Congress and JD-S that land and mobile phones of their leaders were being tapped by the state intelligence department, Yeddyurappa said he had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to constitute a committee to go into the charges levelled by Hegde and the opposition parties on the sensitive issue of phone-tapping.

“I have written to the prime minister today (Monday) to set up a high-level committee under the chairmanship of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who hails from Karnataka, former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Justice Hegde as its members to probe the alleged phone-tapping issue and submit the report within three months,” Yeddyurappa asserted.

Reiterating that his government had not ordered anybody to tap the phones of the Lokayukta, the chief minister said there was no need for tapping the ombudman’s phones by the state agencies.

“Since the Lokayukta has made the allegation that his phones were tapped, I have written to the prime minister to set up the probe panel and clear the doubts in the mind of the public as well as of Hegde,” Yeddyurappa added.

Welcoming the chief minister’s letter to the prime minister, Hegde told reporters later he was happy that the state government was taking up the tapping of his phones for investigation though he had not yet lodged a complaint about it with anyone.

“I am happy that the (state) government wants to take up the phone-tapping matter and get it investigated. It will be good if an inquiry is made into the charges,” Hegde said.

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