Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa on Saturday ruled out sacking of Reddy brothers from his cabinet over the illegal mining controversy, saying there was no proof against them.
Yeddyurappa said he would act against the Reddy brothers if there was proof of illegal mining by them in the state.
"Let the Congress come out with any proof of the Reddy brothers being involved in illegal mining in the state. I will immediately act against them. There is no proof of them having indulged in illegal mining in the state," he told reporters in New Delhi.
He was replying to questions on how the Karnataka Lok Ayukta Santosh Hegde would be able to carry out a free and fair probe against illegal mining when the Reddy brothers, who had interests in mining business were part of the Karnataka cabinet.
Yeddyurappa said he had given powers to the Lok Ayukta to rope in any agency, be it from the state or the Centre, in his investigation into the illegal mining activities in the state.
"I have admitted on the floor of the House that the state was witnessing illegal mining activities for the last 15 years. If the Lok Ayukta probe is completed, it is the Congress that will face the trouble, as 90 per cent of illegal miners in the state belonged to the party," he said.
Regarding the 'padayatra' to Bellary from Bangalore announced by the Congress against Reddy brothers, the Chief Minister said the opposition party should give up such activities and instead come to Delhi.
"If the Congress leaders from Karnataka state come to Delhi, we can jointly take out a padayatra to the Prime Minister's Office and seek a ban on export of raw minerals including iron ore across the country," he said.
"Till the time a decision on the ban is pending, we can at least seek permission to allow Karnataka to ban export of iron ore from the state," he added.
Yeddyurappa said he had raised the issue at the National Development Council meeting that he attended here today.
"If at all the Congress leaders have any concern for conserving state's valuable mineral wealth and put an end to illegal mining and illegal export of iron ore, I urge them to drop the proposed padayatra to Bellary and rush to Delhi," he said.
The Karnataka Chief Minister said the Congress leaders were insisting on a CBI probe as part of their delaying tactics.
"Their (Congress) intention is to delay the probe by entrusting the case to CBI, which has become their stooge. Their true intention is to save their people involved in illegal mining activities, since 90 per cent of the miners involved in illegal mining belong to their party," the CM added.