‘Governor to act swiftly if Yeddyurappa found guilty’

By Fakir Balaji, IANS,

Bangalore : Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj is expected to act swiftly if Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa is found guilty by the Lokayukta probe report on the multi-crore mining scam in the state, a source close to Raj Bhavan said Tuesday.

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“If the Lokayukta (Justice N. Santhosh Hegde) finds the chief minister directly involved in the mining scam and recommends his prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act as a public servant, the governor will direct the latter (Yeddyurappa) to step down pending an inquiry,” the source told IANS.

Lokayukta registrar Moosa Kunhi Nayar is scheduled to submit the voluminous final report on the illegal mining activities to state Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath Wednesday.

“Once the report is made public, the governor can ask the ombudsman to send him a copy immediately. If it (report) holds the chief minister guilty and recommends action against him even though the state government has three months to accept or reject the report as per the Lokayutka Act,” the source said, but declined to be identified.

As head of the state and the only constitutional authority to take action against the chief minister, the governor is competent to act on the recommendation of the Lokayukta for further investigations into Yeddyurappa’s complicity in the mining scam.

“Though the state government has three months to accept or reject the report and its recommendations as per the Lokayukta Act, the governor need not wait till then.

“As the constitutional head of the state, the governor is bound to send a detailed report to the President (Pratibha Patil) with his recommendations, enclosing a copy of the report,” the source asserted.

As per the Lokayukta Act, the governor is empowered to take action against only the chief minister, while the latter can order prosecution of cabinet ministers and officials found guilty in the probe report.

In this context, the source cited the case of former state excise minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, who resigned Dec 3, 2010 after the Lokayukta found him directly involved in the multi-crore land scam and against whom the governor sanctioned prosecution by the ombudsman’s police.

“The governor intends to get a copy of the report from the Lokayukta soon after it is submitted to the state government Wednesday and study it along with the recommendations to act on the same day. He is keen to send his report to the president within 24 hours, as he is alarmed over the magnitude of the corruption and illegalities involved in the mining scam with the connivance of the officials,” the source noted.

Hegde in an interview to IANS said there was “an element of criminality on the part of the chief minister as he heads the mining department and is responsible for all acts of omission and commission in it”.

The report has found that illegal mining caused a Rs.1,827 crore loss to the exchequer over the last 14 months.