Bangalore: More trouble seems to be in store for B S Yeddyurappa with Governor H R Bhardwaj on Friday indicating he would take action on the recommendations of state Lokayukta on illegal mining, which had indicted the Karnataka Chief Minister.

Bhardwaj, often at loggerheads with Yeddyurappa, said he would go by the recommendations of Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde and made it clear he was the only constitutional authority to take action against the Chief Minister.

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Yeddyurappa, who is on a holiday in Mauritius, in his first reaction said he was not involved with illegal mining in Karnataka and that in fact he was the first Chief Minister to tackle this problem. Initially, he said he would to react only after seeing the report.

"..whatever he (Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde) will recommend, I will go according to that. I am not going to do anything (else)," Bhardwaj told reporters.

"I will give my serious thought to whatever he recommends and you will know my action the moment I get the report," he said, adding, he expects the report to be submitted to the Government on Monday.

"And if as a competent authority, he (Lokayukta) sends the report to me, then I will deal with it according to the Lokayukta Act (secion 12 and 13)," he said.

Asked if the Chief Minister should resign, he said, "I tell you, you come after two days. You will know everything," but hastened to add: "Don't anticipate. He is the elected Chief Minister. I cannot speak about him unless I see it (the report). How can I reply (now on whether he should resign)?"

In a damning indictment of Yeddyurappa, Hegde said on Thursday that there was "substantive" evidence against the Chief Minister and others in the "huge racket" of illegal mining that caused a loss of over Rs.1,800 crore to the state in 14 months.

Bhardwaj also said he is the only constitutional authority to recommend or take action against the Government and Chief Minister.

Yeddyurappa said he will wait for the Lokayukta report to be tabled before he formulates a response. He dismissed news reports on the Lokayukta finding as "rumour and media speculation."

"Not at all," he said when asked to comment on Lokayukta finding that he had benefitted from illegal mining. "I have not given benefits to anybody."

The Chief Minister said illegal mining was going on in Karnataka for several years and that he had clamped down on this after he assumed office. "I have not given a single mining license," he said.

Cong, CPM demand BSY's resignation

Holding Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurapppa responsible for the alleged telephone tapping of Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde, opposition Congress demanded his immediate resignation and a CBI probe into the episode.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah argued that without the prior knowledge of the Chief Minister telephone tapping could not take place.

"It's not possible to tap telephone without the involvement of the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister is directly responsible for the telephone tapping. He should own moral responsibility and resign forthwith," Siddaramaiah said.

Parameshwara recalled that the then Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde had resigned in 1988 immediately after a similar telephone tapping scandal was unearthed.

They said the party would hold a symbolic protest in front of the Mahatma Gandhi Statue here tomorrow to press for the Chief Minister's resignation and CBI probe into the tapping.

The party would decide on the future course of action on the issue of illegal iron ore mining after studying the second and final report of the Lokayukta to be submitted by him soon.

The Congress would take action against party leaders if they were named in the Lokayukta report, they said.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) also asked the BJP to take "full responsibility" for installing a government backed by the mining mafia.

"The BJP leadership cannot prevaricate in this matter anymore. It must own up full responsibility for instituting a government in Karnataka which is riddled with the mining mafia and those patronising them," the party Politburo said in a statement here.

The statement said Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde has named the Chief Minister as being involved in wrongdoing and this had been confirmed by him even though the report has not yet been officially released.

"With this indictment, Yeddyurappa has no other option but to resign from office. After the report is submitted, all those named for wrongdoing should be prosecuted under the law," the CPI(M) said.

Senior party leader Sitaram Yechury had on Thursday said, "We hope the BJP will take this decision (to ask Yedyurappa to quit) because otherwise its credibility in the fight against corruption is also very severely compromised."

CPI National Secretary D Raja has also demanded Yeddyurappa's resignation saying corruption charges were being "levelled continuously against him for a long time. Now the Lokayukta indictment has come".

He criticised the BJP for "crying hoarse on corruption and raising issues like the scams relating to 2G spectrum allocation and Commonwealth Games, but remaining silent on corruption in Karnataka".

"This is height of hypocrisy and shows BJP's shameless double standards," Raja said.

BJP to respond after Loyayukta report is submitted

The BJP evaded questions on whether the party would take action against Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa in the wake of his indictment by the Lokayukta in the mining scam, saying it will respond only after the report is complete and is submitted.

"Going by the statements of Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, the report is still not finalised and he is still working on it.

The BJP promises to come back with a response the moment the report comes," BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said here.

"BJP is all prepared to come back with its response to any report in this regard. It is absolutely amusing to think that we would not do so. We shall wait for the report. It is a report being submitted by a constitutional body and as a responsible national opposition party, the BJP would respond accordingly."

Rudy said he held Hegde, who is also part of the Lokpal drafting committee, in high regard. He lamented that there was a lot of speculation raised prior to the submission of his report.

"We have the highest regard for Santosh Hegde, who is doing a job and we are all appreciative of his job. But prior to this, there is a lot of speculation all around it and all kinds of stories are coming out."

Rudy said, "I do not deny that there could be facts in the speculation. But in all justness, whether on such a serious report, is it fair to raise so many speculations – by both the media and the Congress."

Hegde denies Krishna’s involvement


Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde dismissed as 'totally wrong' reports that he has named External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in his report on illegal mining in the state.

"No. He (Krishna) has not been named. It is totally wrong. Nor has the former Chief Minister of Karnataka (Dharam Singh) been named in this report. It is a report by the media not me," Hegde told reporters here.

"I do not how this reporting has been done," said Hegde whose report has been leaked raising a political storm with opposition gunning for Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa's resignation following his indictment on illegal mining issue.

In the leaked report, Hegde has strongly indicted Yeddyurappa, four of his ministerial colleagues and officials on the 'huge racket' of illegal mining that has caused a loss of Rs 1,800 crore in a 14-month period from March 2009.

On whether he would be submitting the report to the government on July 25, Hegde, who had convened the press conferenece to give details of Lokayukta raids in different parts of the state, refused to answer the question saying it was not the appropriate forum.

On submitting a copy of the report to Governor H R Bhardwaj, he said, "I am not obliged to do so. If I am asked by him to do so, I will do it."

Asked whether the much-awaited report on illegal mining would be put up on the official website, he said, "No, you will have to ask for it under the RTI Act."

Asked whether he had received any offer from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to occupy the post of Lokayuta there, Hegde said with a smile, "No, not at all. I was only asked by Shanthi Bhushan (a member of the joint Lokpal drafting committee) whether I could assist him in preparing the Lokayukta report for Bihar and was asked through another member Arvind Kejriwal whether I could accompany Bhushan to Bihar for the purpose".

JPN/Agencies