An embattled Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa is expected to return to Bangalore on Monday from a week-long Mauritius holiday with family amid debate in the party on his future in the wake of Lokayukta's damning indictment on the mining scam.
Giving clear indications that he will play an active role, Governor HR Bhardwaj on Sunday said he would send a report to President Pratibha Patil once the Lokayukta's report "comes on record".
"Let these things (the mining report) come on record. Then I can express my opinion to the President (Pratibha Patil) which can't be leaked to the press," Bhardwaj told reporters.
The report of Lokayukta justice N Santosh Hegde leaked last week indicted Yeddyurappa and four ministers, among others, and put the loss to state exchequer because of illegal mining for 14 months from March 2009 at more than Rs 1,800 crore.
The report findings have embarrassed the ruling BJP, whose central leadership has promised to take "appropriate action" once the report is submitted by Hegde.
The Lokayukta is expected to submit the much-awaited report by Wednesday. "We are working even today (Sunday) and printing. We do not know when it will be completed. We are going through certain chapters. Though we want to bring it out tomorrow, it looks unlikely at this stage. We will submit the report by Wednesday," sources close of Hegde said.
Lokayukta sources said Hegde would give the report only to the government because the mining probe was referred by it, and not the Governor. To this, Bhardwaj said: "I have never asked him to give me a report. If he chooses... definitely I said, I am the competent authority to deal with the government".
There is an intense debate in the BJP on the political fallout once the Lokayukta submits its report.
Rural development and panchayat minister Jagadish Shettar on Sunday met senior BJP leader HN Ananth Kumar -- who is widely seen as a member of anti-Yeddyurappa camp -- and held discussions, fuelling speculation in political circles.
Yeddyurappa has said in Mauritius that he would not step down and is likely to address a press conference on Monday.
Upping the ante, an opposition Congress delegation today met the Governor and urged him to initiate appropriate action against Yeddyurappa for "phone-tapping", leakage of Lokayukta report, and alleged attempt to influence Hegde through three others.
The Congress alleged that higher education minister VS Acharya, Special Representative of Karnataka Government in New Delhi, V Dhananjaya Kumar and Chairman of Task Force for implementing the third finance commission A G Kodgi recently met the Lokayukta and tried to influence him not to indict the chief minister in the final report on illegal mining.
A portion of the Lokayukta report was leaked, Congress said, charging that "this is a deliberate attempt to bring disrepute to the office of honourable Lokayukta, to damage the sanctity of the report and minimise impact of the findings".
Meanwhile, the Governor indicated that he cannot intervene on the issue of phone-tapping of Lokayukta unless he gets a request from Hegde himself.
He said phone-tapping issue is a matter between the "aggrieved party" (Hegde) and the people against whom grievances have been made.
But the Governor said if the Lokayukta wants him (Bhardwaj) to do anything (on this issue) he has promised him that he would do whatever is possible.