Yeddyurappa says he won’t quit, Gadkari to decide (Roundup)

July 25th, 2011 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Bangalore/New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Facing indictment in illegal mining, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Monday said he would not resign and said he had left the decision to BJP president Nitin Gadkari.

Gadkari in turn said he would take a final call based on the findings of Karnataka Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde, who will submit his voluminous report to the state government Wednesday.

With contents of the report already leaked to the media, all eyes are now on the action that Hegde will recommend against Yeddyurappa as he has found there was “an element of criminality” on the chief minister’s part.

“There is an element of criminality on the part of the chief minister as he heads the mining department and is responsible for all acts of omission and commission in it,” the Lokayukta has told IANS.

The Lokayukta Act gives powers to Hegde to recommend that public servants found guilty have to vacate office.

Besides illegal mining, Yeddyurappa is also under attack over tapping Hegde’s phone.

Hegde suspects that tapping of phone is the source for the leak of contents of the report.

Yeddyurappa denied involvement of his government and said he will resign and also retire from politics if it is proved he was behind the tapping.

Asked whether he would quit in view of Lokayukta indictment, the chief minister asserted that he would not do so and continue in the post for the remaining two years of the five-year term.

However, “I will abide by the decision of the high command,” he said.

In New Delhi, Gadkari said he had talked to Yeddyurappa and had been asked to take the final decision on his continuance.

“The party will take a decision based on the charges in the report. Till we officially get the report, we will not any decision,” the BJP president told reporters.

Yeddyurappa, who returned after a five-day holiday in Mauritius, declined to comment on the contents of the report. He said he would react do so only after it was officially submitted.

He, however, repeated that “all charges against me are baseless and a conspiracy of the opposition to bring my government down”.

Yeddyurappa said he written to Gadkari to set up a committee comprising former BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu, Bangalore South MP H.N. Ananth Kumar and party Karnataka in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan to probe all the allegations against him.

He had also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to set up a panel to probe telephone tapping of Lokayukta.

He has suggested External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Hegde as members of the panel.

In related developments, the Congress and JD-S kept up pressure for Yeddyurappa’s resignation over illegal mining and telephone tapping.

State Congress chief G. Parameshwara claimed in Bangalore that there was evidence that tapping was done at Yeddyurappa’s behest.

In New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwary hit out at the BJP for continuing with Yeddyurappa.

Besides Yeddyurappa, the others named in the Lokayukta report are mining barons the Reddy brothers G. Janardhana (tourism) and G. Karunakara (revenue), their associate B. Sriramulu (health) and Yeddyurappa loyalist V. Somanna (civil supplies).

Hegde has also found former chief minister and Janata Dal-Secular leader H.D. Kumaraswamy guilty of granting license to two firms flouting rules and Congress Rajya Sabha member and mining magnate Anil Lad of illegal mining.

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