How will Yeddyurappa tide over the latest crisis?
The Karnataka government is contemplating the next course of action in the wake of the damning revelations of the leaked report by state Lokayukta Santosh Hegde on illegal mining. The report claims that Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and several ministers in his cabinet were involved in the lucrative racket.
The government may legally challenge the findings of the report as it was leaked by certain sections of the media before it could be made public, said sources.
Top legal advisors to the chief minister have cautioned that it would be better to wait for the report and take action on the basis of its content.
Reportage: Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru
Image: Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa
Karnataka government wants to wait and watch
The legal team is awaiting the return of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who is on week-long holiday in Mauritius. The government is likely to study the full report after it is made public and then take a decision on how to react, say sources.
But they add that some leaders in the BJP's top brass want the report to be challenged in a court of law.
The government also wants to plead its case, claiming that the accusations are not true and the state government has indeed taken enough steps to prevent illegal mining.
While admitting that large-scale illegal mining was rampant in the state, Yeddyurappa can contend that his government had imposed a ban on the export of ore.
'Report has nothing new to say'
Some members of the CM's legal team point out that the report has nothing new to say as these issues have already been dealt with earlier.
The report mentions that the state has lost Rs 1,827 crore in 14 months because of the export of iron ore from Bellary district without valid permits.
It claims that 6.94 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore worth Rs 189.57 crore was illegally exported between April 2009 and March 2010 from the Belikeri port alone by a company called ILC Industries.
Image: A mine in Bellary
Lokayukta, state government figures different
This company has been accused of being a front for BJP leaders from Bellary.
Anand Singh, BJP legislator from Hospet, is an executive director in a sister concern of ILC Industries.
But the Lokayukta's figures differ from those of the state government, which had pegged losses at Rs 3 lakh crore. The state government, while imposing a ban on the export of iron ore, had stated that the state had lost Rs 3 lakh crore in the past ten years.
The state government zeroed on this number on the basis of the amount of ore exported and the royalty paid to the state.
Image: The Bellary brothers