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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 29, Dated July 24, 2010
CURRENT AFFAIRS  
ILLEGAL MINING

The country’s biggest illegal mining case, in Karnataka, has reached an important stage. These are the men who are making it happen

by VIJAY SIMHA

3,04,00,000
3.04 crore tonnes of iron ore have been illegally shipped out of Karnataka since 2003
1,52,00,00,00,000
Rs 152 billion is the value of the illegal ore at today’s prices

THE SLEUTH

SANTOSH HEGDE
Karnataka Lokayukta

ROLE > Blew the scam wide open with his exhaustive reports on the loot of iron ore, principally from Bellary. Early this year, his men made the biggest seizure of illegal iron ore in India, 8.5 lakh tonnes, from Karwar port.

IMPACT > Made illegal mining a topic of discussion in homes with relentless investigation. Forced the government to take note of the scam by resigning in protest against moves to end his probe. Has generated respect for the office of the Lokayukta.

image
Photo: SB Satish

THE COMMISSIONER

NAVIN CHAWLA
Chief Election Commissioner

ROLE > Received the complaint seeking disqualification of the Reddy brothers as MLAs for amassing private wealth while being cabinet ministers. Sent the complaint to the Karnataka CEO, asking him to serve notice on the Reddy brothers.

IMPACT > Has made disqualification of the Reddy brothers as MLAs a possibility, and has generated fear in the hearts of their political mentors. Has put the Election Commission again at the forefront as a trustworthy institution.

image
Photo: AP

THE OVERSEER

BS YEDDYURAPPA
Chief Minister, Karnataka

ROLE > Offered the Reddys cabinet berths and targeted them later for illegal mining. Backed off when he saw they could unseat him, and gave them a free hand in Bellary. Resumed action against illegal mining, under pressure from LK Advani.

IMPACT > Bellary’s iron ore was looted because he looked the other way for long. Gave the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a negative reputation as a party so on corruption. Also lost middle-class support for trying to curb the Lokayukta..

image
Photo: S Radhakrishna

THE CUSTODIAN

HR BHARDWAJ
Governor, Karnataka

ROLE > Accepted the complaint against the Reddys from a Congress MLC, that they were using their offices for profit and causing the State loss. Asked the Reddys to appear for hearings and when they didn’t, forwarded the complaint to the EC.

IMPACT > Improved the image of the Governor’s office. Put life into a dying probe against the Reddys. Took the issue to a higher level when he asked President Pratibha Patil if ministers can indulge in such corrupt practices.

image
Photo: SB Satish

THE FAULTFINDER

KC KONDAIAH
Congress MLC, Karnataka

ROLE > Sent the complaint against the Reddys to the Governor, which has now brought the case to the doors of the President. Raised the issue repeatedly in the state assembly, forcing Yeddyurappa to promise action against the guilty.

IMPACT > Pulled many high profile offices into the case, including that of the Governor, the CEC, and the President. Put life into a struggling Karnataka Congress with his campaign. Raised hopes in Bellary, where officials are terrified of the Reddys.

image
Photo: Shailendra Pandey

THE MASTERMIND

JANARDHANA REDDY
Tourism Minister, Karnataka

ROLE > Lorded over Bellary as the minister in-charge of the district. Took control of the iron ore business and generated massive wealth for his family. Funded the BJP and almost brought down Yeddyurappa’s government on the issue of his mining deeds.

IMPACT > India’s biggest illegal mining case took shape because he continued with his practices even when it was risky. Gave the BJP a negative image. Caused concern in the Andhra Pradesh Government because his company is registered there

image

 

Related Story

The Hell Diggers

THE SCALE OF CORRUPTION IN MINING IS A NATIONAL CALAMITY. NO ONE EPITOMISES THIS BETTER THAN THE BELLARY BROTHERS. KIDNAPPINGS, POLITICAL CLOUT, MUSCLE POWER. VIJAY SIMHA HAS THE WHOLE STORY. PHOTOGRAPHS BY SHAILENDRA PANDEY

The Revenge Of The Reddy Republic
The mining baron-brothers flex their muscles in Bellary, forcing a red-faced BJP to its knees, reports SANJANA

Dealing Out A Mirage
KARNATAKA CHIEF MINISTER BS YEDDYURAPPA HAS PROMISED INVESTORS THE MOON, WITHOUT GIVING A THOUGHT TO THEIR INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS, SAYS SANJANA

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 29, Dated July 24, 2010

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