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Illegal mining: Krishna, two other ex-chief ministers face probe

Bangalore: Three former Karnataka chief ministers, including present External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, are now caught in the illegal mining row rocking the state as a court Saturday ordered a probe into their role during their rule.

The other two are Krishna’s successor N. Dharam Singh, also of the Congress, and Singh’s successor H.D. Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal-Secular.

Lokayukta (ombudsman) Special Court Judge N.K. Sudhindra Rao Saturday directed police to complete the probe by Jan 6 and submit a report.

His order came on a private complaint filed by Bangalore businessman T.J. Abraham, who alleged that Krishna, Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy had allowed large-scale illegal mining when they were chief ministers.

Besides these three former chief ministers, Abraham has also accused 11 serving and retired senior officials for the scam.

The police probe will cover their role too, the special court ordered.
Krishna headed the Congress government in the state in 1999-2004, Dharam Singh was the chief minister of the Congress-JD-S coalition in 2004-06 and Kumaraswamy succeeded him in 2006 heading the JD-S-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition.

Ever since illegal mining scandal broke out in the state in 2006, Krishna’s name has been mentioned often but he has strongly denied the allegations.

Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy have also denied they had allowed illegal iron ore mining.

The mining scandal has forced the BJP’s first chief minister in the state B.S. Yeddyurappa out of office. He quit July 31 after the then Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde recommended his trial for corruption in the mining scandal.

The scam has sent former Karnataka tourism minister and mining magnate Gali Janardhana Reddy to jail in Hyderabad as he has been facing case of illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh.

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