Bellary scam returns to haunt | india | Hindustan Times
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Bellary scam returns to haunt

india Updated: Dec 22, 2008 23:55 IST
BR Srikanth

The Bellary mining scam, estimated at a whopping Rs 30,000 crore, is back in the news with Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde submitting his report into the matter to Governor Rameshwar Thakur and Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao.

Though the report has not been made public and its precise contents are not known, both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress are using it to hurl charges at each other as the campaign for eight assembly by-elections scheduled for December 27 gains momentum.

While Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has blamed the Congress for the scam, the latter is seeking a probe by the CBI.

Justice Hegde himself has steadfastly refused to divulge any names of politicians, mine owners or bureaucrats indicted in the report.

What is known, however, is that the report - submitted last Friday - has called for a survey of the state's border with Andhra Pradesh in the Bellary region, which the Congress had been claiming was altered during mining operations carried out by the Tourism Minister G Janardhan Reddy's firm.

The Congress sees this endorsement as a major victory.

At a meeting with officers of the mines, geology and forest departments on Monday, Justice Hegde asked for another report into illegal mining during the years 2006-08.

Once that is ready, the Lokayukta will submit an all-inclusive report to the government.Some politicians, including former chief minister Dharam Singh are even targeting Justice Santosh Hegde.

"A politician who has been named in the report has said I prepared it in collusion with the Chief Minister because I'm keen on contesting the next Lok Sabha elections," he told Hindustan Times. "It is unbecoming of a man who has held such a high office."

Justice Hegde said he had recommended a ban on the export of iron ore. He has also suggested that mining leases should only be given to the firms building steel plants next to the mining site.