BJP minister collected Rs 75 lakh from crushers: Cong leader

A senior Karnataka Congress leader today accused state forests minister of allegedly collecting Rs 75 lakh from stone crushers of Ramanagaram district and urged Chief Minister to enquire into the matter.

Congress leader D K Shivakumar made the accusations after being charged by the state forest minister C P Yogeshwar of being involved in illegal quarrying.

"Yogeshwar has collected Rs 75 lakh from stone crushers of Ramnagaram district. Crushers have given money, but granite quarrying businessmen have refused to pay as they are doing legal business," he told reporters at his residence here.
Shivakumar also demanded that Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda order a CBI probe into the allegation.

Shivakumar, involved in granite business, alleged that minister was bringing pressure on senior forest officials to "foist" false cases of illegal granite quarrying business against him.

Earlier in the day, the minister had alleged that Shivakumar was involved in illegal granite quarrying in Ramanagaram district. Yogeshwar had claimed he also received threat calls from Shivakumar's brother asking him not to proceed with his probe into the illegal granite quarrying business.

Shivakumar said the minister was levelling allegations against him to divert attention from the Mega City land scam, which was promoted by Yogeshwar and is mired in allegations of irregularities, which the BJP leader denies.

Yogeshwar was playing "vendetta politics" after the Congress sought Governor H R Bhardwaj's intervention to remove him as Forests Minister, Shivakumar alleged.
Denying Yogeshwar's charge that he was involved in the illegal quaryying of granite, he said, "I am doing granite business on my land. I am doing it legally and nobody can stop me from doing it".

On Yogeshwar's allegation that he received threat calls from Shivakumar's brother, the Congress leader said the minister should immediately lodge a police complaint in this regard.

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