Karnataka Tourism Minister and iron ore mine owner G. Janardhana Reddy on Monday charged that many state Congress leaders, and not he, were into illegal mining and exports.
Quoting a report of the Lok Ayukta (ombudsman), Reddy said companies owned by Congress leaders MY Ghorpade, VS Lad and sons, Allum Veerabhadrappa, HG Ramulu, SM Jain and Adbul Wahab and a firm of Baldotas had encroached on hundreds of acres of land.
Ghorpade is a former minister, Veerabhadrappa is former state Congress chief, Ramulu a former parliamentarian, while Wahab is former Bellary district Congress committee head.
Similarly, Jain is a former All India Congress Committee member while Anil Lad is a Rajya Sabha member, and Santosh Lad is an assembly member.
Janardhana Reddy, his brother Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy and youngest of the three brothers, G. Somashekara Reddy, an assembly member, are under attack on charges of large-scale land encroachment and illegal iron ore mining in Karnataka and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
Janardhana Reddy, who owns the Obulapuram Mining Company, asserted that his firm is not into mining in Karnataka but only in Andhra Pradesh. "We are not mining even in one inch of land in Karnataka," he asserted.
Reddy claimed "we are like pure gold, 24 carat gold. All our mining activities are legal".