Addressing a press conference, Reddy made use of a Lokayukta report on the illegal mining, submitted to the Government in 2008, to lash out at the Congress even as he claimed himself to be as pure as “24 carat gold.”
He circulated a list of 25 companies that are allegedly into illegal mining as per the Lokayukta report. M Y Ghorpade, Allam Veerabhadrappa, Anil Lad, Santosh Lad and Abdul Wahab are some of the Congress leaders, who, according to Reddy are the owners of these companies.
He also alleged that MSPL, one of the biggest mining companies owned by Rahul Baldota, is also into illegal mining.
Reddy’s attack has come when the Congress has decided to take out a “Bellary Chalo” padayatra, demanding a CBI probe into the mining issue. Reddy further alleged that the Congress leaders have been into illegal mining for several decades.
The State has lost several thousand crores of rupees due to the illegal mining, he said.
“The Congress leaders are scam kings. If you (Congress leaders) have guts, come to Bellary. Bring Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi for the padayatra, nothing will happen,” Reddy stated. The minister also lashed out at Governor H R Bhardwaj for demanding the resignation of Reddy brothers from their ministerial posts alleging their involvement in illegal mining.
“The Governor has exceeded his limits. He has admitted that he is a Congressman. He should understand his limits and act in such a way to uphold the respect of the office he is holding,” he stated.
When his attention was drawn to the Governor’s statement that he has proof of Reddy brothers’ involvement in illegal mining, the Tourism Minister challenged the Governor to provide one piece of evidence against him.
“The moment any evidence is shown to me, I will resign from the post. I will not wait for any inquiry,” he stated.
On the Congress demand for a CBI inquiry into the illegal mining, he said “whether it is CBI or FBI,” he has no problem with it. But he was quick to add that he will stand by the party high command’s decision in this regard.
The BJP high command is of the view that the Centre will misuse the CBI against the BJP Government in Karnataka. So the party is opposing it. However, the decision has been made to hand over the inquiry to the Lokayukta, he added.
Reddy apologised to people of the State for the unruly behaviour of the members in the recently-concluded State Legislature session. “The behaviour of the members has lowered the dignity of the House. I tender an apology to people of the State,” he told the reporters. The members, especially those belonging to the ruling party, indulged in a bitter war of words in the Legislative Assembly.