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Lokayukta can probe Krishna in land dereservation case: HC

Last updated on: January 20, 2012 16:05 IST

The case to be probed against S M Krishna involves the dereservation of 34 forest blocks that allegedly facilitated illegal mining. Vicky Nanjappa reports. 

The Karnataka high court on Friday ordered that the Lokayukta could investigate the case against External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to the extent of dereservation of forest blocks in the year 2003 when Krishna was chief minister of Karnataka.

Justice N Ananda, who also passed an order on former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, ordered that the Lokayukta could probe the allegation that Krishna favoured a company called Sai Venkateshwara Minerals.

Justice Ananda also ordered that no investigation against Krishna would take place in the Mysore Minerals case. The grant of permission to mine in this case was questioned but the court observed that since that decision falls under the Companies Act it and would not come under the purview of the chief minister.

The latest development means that the stay on the investigation against the two former CM's has been lifted and the Lokayukta police can probe the matter.

The case to be probed against S M Krishna involves the dereservation of 34 forest blocks that allegedly facilitated illegal mining. 

A private complaint had been filed against S M Krishna, H D Kumaraswamy and Dharam Singh – all former chief ministers -- under various sections, including the Prevention of Corruption Act, Forest Conservation Act, Forest Act and Minerals and Metals Regulation and Development Act (MMRDA) and IPC.

The complainant, T Abhraham, had alleged that Krishna, who was chief minister from October 1999 to May 2004, and Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy permitted illegal mining for pecuniary gains.

Abraham, a city-based social activist and businessman, had submitted that his complaint was based on the report on illegal mining presented to the government by then Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in August.

When the complaint was taken up first by the Lokayukta court, it had ordered investigation of the same. The police then filed an FIR after which the accused in the case approached the high court and later obtained a stay order.

In so far as Kumaraswamy's case, the court ordered that the 150 crore bribery charge made by former Karnataka minister Janardhan Reddy shall not be probed. This was ordered in view of Reddy withdrawing an earlier petition he had filed in connection with the same case in the high court.

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore