Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa had a breakfast meeting with arch-rivals and cabinet colleagues Reddy brothers in the capital on Sunday to discuss illegal mining in the state.
The issue has been brought into sharp focus after Karnataka governor HR Bharadwaj spoke out against it.
After the meeting, Yeddyurappa gave a clean chit to the Reddys. The brothers said they would hold a press conference in Bangalore to clear the air on the charges against them.
"There is no question of dropping them from the cabinet," said the Chief Minister.
"There is no evidence or charges against them."
He also said that the Lok Ayukta should probe all the charges of illegal mining in the state since 2003.
However, there was buzz that the CM, who has had a series of meetings in Delhi over the last days on the issue of illegal mining, and who does not see eye to eye with the brothers, wants to have one of them removed from the cabinet and the portfolio of another changed.
On Saturday, the CM is believed to have got support from LK Advani, who is believed to have told him that the party's image was above the urge to have a government in the state at any cost.
However, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who also met the CM on Saturday night, is believed to be of the view that there should be a soft line on the mining magnet brothers, and that no room should be given to the Congress, which is trying to target the Karnataka government.
How the chief minister can clip the wings of the brothers while Swaraj is with them remains to be seen.
Flaying the chief minister's clean chit, Congress spokesperson Abishek Singhvi said though the announcement was shocking, it did not spring any surprise.
"...The protectors or supposed protectors are now predators....(there is) absolute abdication of the rule of law in the state. The loot is brazen..."