Yeddy, Congress leaders take mining battle to Delhi

Yeddy, Congress leaders take mining battle to Delhi

After his meetings with Home Minister P Chidambaram and party leaders L K Advani and Nitin Gadkari, Yeddyurappa ruled out a CBI probe into the mining issue and rejected the demand for removal of the Reddy brothers from his cabinet.

"There is no proof of the charges against any of the ministers and action would be taken if substantial proof is available," he told reporters. "Tomorrow if I get any substantial proof, I am ready to take action. I am not bothered about anybody," he added.

To a question why his government was fighting shy of instituting a CBI inquiry into the illegal mining issue, Yeddyurappa said the institution of Lokayukta has been given "all the powers" and it can take the help of Central government and any state government and even Central agencies.

"He is investigating the mining issue. As early as possible, we are going to refer all cases starting from 2002. Soon truth will come out and whoever is culprit, we will punish them," Yeddyurappa said.

Yeddyurappa said the Congress-JD(S) campaign against the Reddy brothers -- Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy and Revenue Minister G Karunakaran Reddy -- was born out of political enmity.

Congress sticks to demand
Congress leaders came to the capital to press for their demand for CBI probe into illegal mining.

The delegation, which also met Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, included AICC General Secretary incharge of Karnataka Ghulam Nabi Azad, PCC chief R V Deshpande, CLP leader Siddharamaiah and Union Ministers Mallikarjun Kharge, K H Muniyappa and another AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad.

"It's a matter of national interest.  People are looking to what the Union government is doing into the matter. It's a big issue and CBI inquiry should take place to unearth the illegal mining network in Karnataka," Deshpande told reporters after the meeting with Gandhi.

Deshpande said they also met the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister over the issue.

He said the delegation briefed Gandhi over the illegal mining situation in the state and the Congress President said she was aware of it and will look into the issue. "Law and order has collapsed in the state. There is no rule of law. Our party was agitating against the on-going illegal mining in the  state for last two and half years and it it is for the first time that the Chief Minister had to accept the existence of illegal mining on the floor of the Assembly," Deshpande said.

CLP leader Siddharamaiah said the illegal mining and the export of illegal iron ore from Karnataka was one of the "biggest scams".

To a question on whether the Congress is insisting on the resignation of Reddy brothers, he said, "Not only Reddy brothers. Chief Minister himself is responsible. We are demanding his resignation. During his tenure iron ore worth Rs 5000 crore were exported illegally."

The party leaders also requested the Prime Minister to ensure that urgent steps are taken to curb illegal mining in the state.

The meetings came a day after the Karnataka Assembly was adjourned sine die, cutting short the session by nearly a fortnight with the Opposition continuing its indefinite dharna demanding a CBI probe into alleged illegal mining.

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