Karnataka govt will not act on my report: Lokayukta
Expressing doubts over the state government implementing his report on the mining scam in Karnataka, state Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde on Saturday said his only hope was the Supreme Court.
"The government will not act on it," Hegde said on the report which is expected to be submitted to the government next week.
"My only hope is the Supreme Court," he told PTI in an interview.
He, however, said it was not mandatory for the government to accept his report, which has indicted Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.
Image: Santosh Hegde
'I have evidence of illegality'
Four ministers, including three from the mineral-rich Bellary district, have also been indicted by the Lokayukta, whose findings say that the "huge racket" has caused a loss of Rs 1,800 crore to the exchequer since March 2009.
Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, said the apex court is monitoring the illegal activity in the mining area in Karnataka and it has urged the government to completely stop mining in Bellary.
"And I have evidence of illegality going on in Bellary; I have put it in my report. And I am sure (the Supreme Court appointed) Central Empowered Committee which is collaborating with us (Karnataka Lokayukta) also, their object is the same as mine (of) curbing illegal mining. They may take the report (to be submitted next week) and place it before the Supreme Court," he said.
Image: Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa
'They will justify it anyway'
Hegde, a member of the joint drafting committee on the Lokpal bill, is not surprised by the chief minister's refusal to resign over the report.
"When it comes to respective political parties, when it comes to their personal conduct and all that, they will justify it anyway (that they have done no wrong)", he said.
Hegde agreed that it is not mandatory for the government to accept his report.
"The Lokayukta report will only recommend what has happened and what should be done about it, and anybody who is accountable or responsible should take action on that," he said.
Image: A mine in Bellary
'Their entire career could be spoiled'
Based on the information in the report, he said the Lokayukta can certainly prosecute those who had been named in it but added that the first opportunity is for the government to act upon it.
"If criminal activities are noticed, liability is noticed, we can prosecute" but it is "left to the next man (his successor)," he said.
Hegde is retiring on August 2.
Hegde said he is concerned about the physical safety and career prospects of the five Lokayukta officials working under him who probed the illegal mining case for the latest report, and recommended to the government to treat them as "whistle-blowers".
"It's not only physical harm that I apprehend, I am apprehending much more than that, because their entire career could be spoiled. They have stepped on the toes of many people, powerful people," he said.
'Mining people are a different kind'
Hegde referred to an attack on U V Singh, a senior forest official and key investigator on the illegal mining, by a Bangalore corporator when he was probing the issue of polluted water a few months ago, and said the illegal mining case was much more serious.
"Mining people are a different kind of people altogether," he remarked.
Hegde said his endeavour is to submit the report on Monday or Tuesday but indicated that there could be some delay.
"Unfortunately, it is not in my hands", he said, adding that the printing of the report needs to be done under the scrutiny of Lokayukta officers.
Image: A mine in Bellary