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'Enough proof to nail Reddys'

Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde on Wednesday said his report on illegal mining in the state laid bare the activities of the powerful Reddy brothers, who came from obscurity to back BJP leader Sushma Swaraj during her failed 1999 run for Parliament from Bellary, one of Karnataka’s poorest districts.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2011 23:38 IST
HT Correspondents

Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde on Wednesday said his report on illegal mining in the state laid bare the activities of the powerful Reddy brothers, who came from obscurity to back BJP leader Sushma Swaraj during her failed 1999 run for Parliament from Bellary, one of Karnataka’s poorest districts.

Along with chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and others, the report indicts the Reddy brothers – tourism minister Janardhan Reddy, revenue minister G Karunakara Reddy and Karnataka Milk Federation chairman Somashekhar Reddy.

Justice Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, said: “The Reddy brothers have always claimed they do not do mining in Karnataka. We have enough documentary evidence to prove the contrary.”

The Lokayukta’s team led by UV Singh perused four lakh records, 50 lakh entries and produced a report, which, including the annexures, runs into 25,228 pages. It has 31 chapters with supporting documents. Justice Hegde’s report runs into 943 pages.

The report was submitted to the office of the chief secretary, and a copy was also given to the governor. Justice Hegde said he feared physical harm to his team. The report has sought security for them.

He hoped since the Supreme Court was monitoring the mining activities in Karnataka, it would take cognisance of the report, as “it would be of great assistance to them”.

Justice Hegde said he had not submitted a copy of the report to the Supreme Court, but would do so if asked. This was his second and final report on illegal mining.

Justice Hegde had submitted his first report in December 2008, highlighting various “illegalities and irregularities” and the damage to roads due to overloading of trucks. The report had also pointed to the “suffering of the people in and around the mining areas”.

“The government did not receive duties or royalties due to overloading,” he said.

Yeddyurappa’s indictment has put the BJP under pressure. Sources said replacing him was necessary to prevent losing credibility in the fight against corruption in Parliament.