Apex court stays Lokayukta probe against Krishna, three others

Apex court stays Lokayukta probe against Krishna, three others

Karnataka government given four weeks to file reply

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Lokayukta probe initiated against External Affairs minister S M Krishna, retired IAS officer D S Aswath and two others, for allegedly allowing illegal mining in forest areas.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and S S Nijjar issued notice to the Karnataka government, seeking its reply within four weeks in the matter, also involving former managing director of Mysore Minerals Limited (MML) and Deputy General Manager of MML K Srinivas and Shankaralingaiah respectively.

The court also directed to tag their case with the special leave petition filed by Krishna, which is to come up for hearing on March 30.

The apex court had on February 24 given 4 weeks time to the Karnataka government to file its reply on Krishna’s plea challenging the probe.

The apex court had on January 27 stayed the probe initiated against Krishna on the basis of a Lokayukta report, terming the proceedings as “premature.”

Krishna had on January 24 approached the apex court challenging the Karnataka High Court’s order allowing a Lokayukta probe against him for his alleged involvement in illegal mining during his tenure as the chief minister between 1999 and 2004. He had claimed that the de-reservation of the forest mineral wealth was carried out as per the mineral policy of the Central government.

T J Abraham, a Bangalore resident, who filed the complaint against Krishna, had on February 23 filed an application before the Attorney General G E Vahanvati urging him to recommend criminal prosecution of the minister for alleged irregularities in allotment of forest areas for mining.