After being told by Governor H R Bhardwaj, not to ignore corruption charges against him and his ministers, Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa today defended himself and the Reddy brothers against allegations. In a tersely worded response to the Governor's two letters, Yeddyurappa said he had not indulged in any irregularities in denotification of land.
He also claimed denotification of land had taken place during the regime of JDS leader, H D Kumaraswamy and even then there were reports of alleged irregularities, sources in the chief minister's office said.
The Governor had on December 15 this year, shot off two letters to Yeddyurappa asking him to send a detailed report on the land scams allegedly involving his family members. He also demanded information on action taken to stop illegal mining, with specific reference to the Reddy brothers; Janardhana and Karunakara, who are ministers and mining magnates.
The Governor had also accused the BJP Government of turning a "blind eye" to corruption charges against it. Apparently trying to turn the tables on the Union Government and also the Governor, Yeddyurappa urged Bhardwaj to join hands with the state government in its effort to curb illegal mining and ask the Centre also to ban export of iron ore.
"We are sure if proper cooperation and support is extended by the Government of India for the measures suggested by the state government, it will go a long way in curbing illegal mining and increase revenue to the state," he said. Yeddyurappa, in his response, has stated in a veiled manner that the Governor's missive had been based on Kumaraswamy's complaint and that his actions were prompted by the latter, the sources said.
The sources said Yeddyurappa also clarified that the land alloted to his son and daughter had been returned. On the issue of allotment of 'G' category landsites using discretionary powers, Yeddyurappa said he would follow the recent High Court order and stop such allotment, sources said.
In response to Bhardwaj seeking clarification on the business interests of three Bellary ministers -- the Reddy brothers and their close associate, Sreeramulu -- he defended them, saying their transactions are in accordance with the law, sources said.
Yeddyurappa also informed the Governor that the three ministers did not own any mining licence in Karnataka.
The Governor had hit out at Yeddyurappa for failing to take any action over the land scam and mining controversies and had directed him to respond to his letters quickly. Yeddyurappa asserted in his letter that his government has issued several circulars and notifications to curb illegal mining and these measures were even challenged by some aggrieved mines owners.
On the Governor's references to the three Bellary ministers, Yeddyurappa said "the ministers have nothing to do with the business of the government and it pertained to their individual business activity. However, a copy of your letter has been forwarded to the concerned ministers".
Yeddyurappa further said, "it is clarified that the ministers referred to in your letter do not have any subsisting contract with the government.I request you to kindly refer to my earlier detailed replies sent on July 13, this year and the same may be perused to avoid any repetition".