Addressing mediapersons after calling on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Yeddyurappa dismissed a demand for a CBI probe into illegal mining in the State. During the meeting, Yeddyurappa sought a ban on iron ore exports.
“The policy of the BJP is not to refer any case to the CBI. I do not want to go into the details of who benefited or which government was protected by the CBI,” he said.
“The Karnataka Lokayukta is investigating the mining issue. As early as possible, we will refer all cases starting from 2002. Soon truth will come out. And whoever is the culprit, we will punish them,” he said.
On the Congress-JD(S) demand for action against the Reddy brothers, the chief minister remarked: “There are no charges against any minister. The Lokayukta is going into the entire gamut of issues. If there are any findings of irregularities against the ministers, I am going to remove them within 24 hours. There is no evidence against the Reddys. The high court, Supreme Court and Lokayukta have not found anything against them.”
Noting that some leaders of the Congress and the BJP were involved in illegal mining, Yeddyurappa charged that the Opposition was demanding CBI probe because they can be saved in the event of a CBI inquiry.
“The Lokayukta—Justice Santosh Hegde—is an honest man and the Opposition is scared that there would be findings against them in case of a Lokayukta probe”.
He said as per interim findings, the Lokayukta has recommended recovery of Rs 23 crore from former chief minister Dharam Singh as the government suffered losses due to one of his actions.
“This is being reviewed,” he said and added that the Opposition Congress-JD(S) campaign against the Reddy brothers—G Janardhana Reddy and G Karunakaran Reddy—was born out of political enmity.
On banning iron exports, Yeddyurappa urged Singh to convene a meeting of the chief ministers of the iron ore-rich states to discuss the issue.
“The prime minister heard us patiently. He praised the performance of our government and the recent global investors meet. He was happy with the action we have taken to curb illegal mining,” said the chief minister.
“The only way to stop illegal mining will be to stop iron ore exports and allow only value-added industry. There is no other way,” he said, adding that he has conveyed this to the prime minister.