Mining case: SC finds nothing in Lokayukta report against SMK

Mining case: SC finds nothing in Lokayukta report against SMK

Mining case: SC finds nothing in Lokayukta report against SMK

The Supreme Court on Tuesday apparently found “nothing” in the Lokayukta report which was sufficient for initiation of criminal case against former Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna for allegedly dereserving about thousand acres of mineral-rich forest land in Ballari and other areas.

“We have gone through the (Lokayukta) report threadbare, there is nothing in it against appellant no 1 (Krishna),” a bench of Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said.

The court, however, granted anti-corruption crusader T J Abraham, who had filed a private complaint against Krishna and others, permission to show the relevant part of the report on March 29.

Abraham, arguing for himself, conceded that the main report did not talk about Krishna, but claimed there are annexures and the report of retired deputy director of mines and geology R L Gaikwad, which showed his (Krishna’s) role in dereserving forest land.

During the hearing, the bench gave opportunity to Abraham to show the relevant paragraphs of the Lokayukta report.

He, however, submitted he could not bring voluminous annexures to buttress his arguments as the previous bench, then comprising Justices Ghose and Ashok Bhushan, had on November 16 directed the Karnataka chief secretary to furnish all records, including Cabinet note, prepared during the tenure of Krishna in 2002.

On this, the bench told him, “Don’t bring billions of papers here. You go through the Lokayukta report and pin-point the paragraph which specifically dealt with appellant’s role”.

“If there is nothing, consequences will follow and if there is something, then again consequences will follow,” the bench said. Meanwhile, state standing counsel Joseph Aristotle and V N Raghupathy, furnished in a sealed envelope the chief secretary’s report as directed by the court.

In his complaint, Abraham had contended that the Cabinet headed by Krishna had, on December 16, 2002, allowed the mining department to dereserve the forest land, despite the forest minister himself opposing the move. The decision had resulted in dereserving of 11,797 sq km of forest area in Ballari on March 15, 2003, in contravention of the Supreme Court’s order, he had claimed.