Lad faces lonely campaign

photo_3After much deliberation and lobbying, the Congress finally gave into Anil Lad to contest from the Bellary city constituency. The opposition to his candidature was due to the fact that his name figured in the illegal mining report.

Lad is however bitter and is often seen complaining that he is undertaking a lonely campaign. There were in fact seven contenders for this constituency from the Congress and today all of them have stayed away from Lad’s campaign.

Lad tells rediff.com that there is a negative campaign against him and some of the persons from his own party who were aspirants to the post want to see him defeated. Not only are they not campaigning for me, but they are even spreading rumours against me. I have complained to the high command about the same.

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Yeddyurappa cleared in illegal mining case

Former Karnataka Chief Minister, B S Yeddyurappa has been cleared in the illegal mining case, with the Karnataka High Court quashing the case against him in this regard. The Karnataka High Court which heard a petition filed by Yeddyurappa challenging the chapter of the Illegal Mining report against him has quashed the same. In addition to this the complaint against him, the First Information Report and also the sanction accorded against him by the Governor in connection with the illegal mining case has been quashed by the High Court thus indicating that there is no case against him.

The Division Bench comprising Justice Bhaktavatsala and Justice Govidarajulu quashed Chapter 22 of the Illegal Mining report which named Yeddyurappa and his sons alleging that they were involved in facilitating illegal mining in the state. The report was prepared by the then Lokayukta Justice N Santhosh Hegde who had stated that Yeddyurappa and his sons had floated a company through which they received kickbacks and facilitated illegal mining in the state.

Following this report, there was a hue and cry and the central leadership of the BJP had forced Yeddyurappa to step down as the Chief Minister. A couple of days later based on this report the Governor of Karnataka, H R Bharadwaj had accorded sanction to prosecute Yeddyurappa in the mining scam. Based on this the Lokayukta police had filed a First Information Report and also filed a report based on which the prosecution was to be initiated,

Yeddyurappa preferred to move the Karnataka High Court challenging this order. He even questioned the mining report in which his name was mentioned while terming it arbitrary and sought relief.

Yeddyurappa who has been saddled with several cases will now have one case less to fight. However the mining report was considered to be the most important one as this was the case which unseated him as the Chief Minister. His followers have already decided to raise the pitch to re-instate him as the Chief Minister once again.

B S Yeddyurappa reacting to the judgment said that he has complete in God and hopes that he would be freed of charges in all other cases as well. I however cannot comment further as I have not read the judgment as yet.

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Report on Illegal Mining-What the Lokayukta revealed today?

The much awaited report on illegal mining in Karnataka is out and the culprits that the Lokayukta Justice N Santhosh Hegde has named in the report are B S Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka, former Chief Minister of Karnataka, H D Kumaraswamy, the Reddy brothers of Bellary, Sriramulu, cabinet minister from Bellary, Anil lad, Congress leader and also the family of V Somanna who is also from the Congress.

The report says that the Chief Minister’s family had received donations through a trust from mining firms through cheques. Also the report which runs into 25228 pages say that the same trust of the CM’s family had received gratitude of Rs 20 crore to purchase an acre of land in Rachenahalli while the real cost of the land was just Rs 1.25 crore. The extent of the loss incurred by the state due to illegal mining between 2006 and 2010 is Rs 16085 crore.

Addressing a jam packed press conference in Bangalore today, Justice Hegde said that his registrar Moosa Kunji Nayar Moole submitted the report to the Chief Secretary of Karnataka, S V Ranganath at around 345 pm.

Justice Hegde while speaking about the report said that he has recommended prosecution of all those involved and named in the report which includes B S Yeddyurappa. He said that the appropriate provisions of law should be applied while prosecuting these people and he has also sent a copy of the report to the Governor who is capable of initiating action against the CM.

The Lokayukta said that he had submitted a report on illegal mining two years back to the government but nothing was done about it. Small criminal cases had been filed, but the bigger issues were ignored. There has never been accountability where the transport of ore has been concerned and he also referred to the Bilikere port incident where 5 lakh tonnes of iron ore that had been seized had gone missing.

My officials have gone through 4 lakh files and 20 lakh entries while preparing this report and there is damning evidence against the people that I have named in the report.

While the probing the case, we found that certain amount was paid to the family of the Chief Minister which runs the Prerna trust. In addition to this Rs 20 crore has been given by the South West Mining Company belonging to the Jindal group to purchase land of 1 acre in Rachenahalli. While we assessed this land the value was found to be around Rs 1.25 crore. Hence this comes under the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Chief Minister’s family got cheques in the form of donation run by them. This trust is not financially stable and neither does it have anything to do with mining activities and yet it received that gratitude. We have found it hard to believe that this company had borrowed money and later donate it. I came to the conclusion that these payments were not made for genuine reasons and hence I concluded that that as a matter of fact this is a fit case to be probed under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Lokayukta has also named 787 officials and 100 companies and firms that are involved in this scam. In the report you will find the names of the Reddy brothers also. The name of H D Kumaraswamy also figures in the report and his name has been taken stating that he had approved two mining leases illegally.

With regard to the Reddy brothers we have found that their claim that they have no mining interest in Karnataka is false. We have enough evidence to dis prove their statements and enough documentary evidence to prove that they were lying about their claims.

We have also found irregularities in the case of Anil Lad who runs the business in the name of his wife and also the name of V Somanna and his family crops up in the report.

I have not recommended that anyone should vacate the office including the Chief Minister. All I have recommended that action should be taken. We have also recommended that we want the amounts to be recovered and property sealed and the amount that needs to be recovered is four times the loss that has been incurred by these persons.

Taking questions from the press, he said that the Chief Ministers statement that he has banned the export of illegal ore has had very little impact on the magnitude of the scam. Further I have also dealt with the administration inBellaryin one of the chapters.

I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will take up this issue as it is already seized off the matter. I however have no intention of sending the report to the Supreme Court and I think one of the petitioners would do so.

I thank all my officers in helping me with this report and they have stepped on the toes of heavy weights to prepare the same. I perceive harm to all of them and hence have sought protection for them.