Orders on SMK plea reserved

Orders on SMK plea reserved

The High Court of Karnataka has reserved orders on the petition of Union Minister for External Affairs, S M Krishna, seeking quashing of the private complaint registered against him by the Lokayukta police, even as the respondent claimed that the file sent by the Forest Department, objecting to the de-reservation of forest land in 2002, had gone ''missing''.

T J Abraham, the social activist who had filed the private complaint against Krishna accusing him of facilitating illegal mining when he was the chief minister from October 1999 to May 2004, informed the High Court on Wednesday that the Forest Department had “objected to the de-reservation of 6,832 hectares of vegetative land in December 2002”. But a few crucial papers in the said file had gone missing, Abraham said.

Abraham submitted that though the State government had earlier decided to de-reserve forest land in non-fragile areas to encourage mining by the private sector, it was done in fragile mineral bearing regions despite opposition from the Forest Department. After important files on de-reservation went missing, the decision (to de-reserve) was intentionally taken with the knowledge of Krishna, he alleged. Abraham was carrying his submissions on from Tuesday before Justice Narayanappa Anand.

Krishna’s counsel, Uday Lalit, argued that the decision to de-reserve forest land was taken by the State Cabinet, in accordance with the National Mineral Policy, 1993. The Centre has the final say in allowing private players to mine mineral ores and export them, Lalit contended.

Justice Anand extended till the pronouncement of final orders the stay granted earlier by the High Court on all proceedings of the Lokayukta court, including the FIR registered by the Lokayukta police against Krishna on December 8, 2011.