Poll panel gives Reddys hard time

EC notice to ministers today for misusing office

Poll panel gives Reddys hard time

According to official sources here on Sunday, the Office of Chief Electoral Officer (OCEO), Karnataka, will send the notices to Tourism Minister Janardhana Reddy, Revenue Minister Karunakara Reddy and Health Minister Sriramulu on Monday. The ECI has already despatched the notices to the OCEO in a sealed cover to be handed over to the ministers.

Chief Electoral Officer C S Suranjana said the ECI had advised the OCEO to send the notices to the ministers at the earliest. Suranjana, however, refrained from divulging details of the notices. It is not known how much time the ECI has given the ministers to file their explanation.

The ECI took up the case after receiving from Governor H R Bhardwaj a complaint that he received from State Congress leaders recently. Congress leaders, including K C Kondaiah, had complained that the three ministers, by misusing their official positions, had encroached upon forest areas in the state for pursuing mining operations. The complaint had also alleged that the Reddy brothers had amassed assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, and urged the Governor to disqualify them.

Acting on the complaint, the Governor had issued show-cause notices to the ministers, asking them to reply in accordance with Article 192(2) of the Constitution. But the Reddy brothers filed objections to the issues raised by the Governor through their lawyer.

The Governor then ordered summons directing them to appear before him. The defiant ministers not only refused to appear before the Governor, but openly attacked him in public. Janardhana Reddy had described the Governor as a Congress agent and questioned his authority to summon a minister. The Governor promptly referred the matter to the Election Commission.

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