Anticipatory bail for Karnataka’s ex-CM Kumaraswamy in mining scam

H D Kumaraswamy
H D Kumaraswamy, File Photo

Bengaluru, May 17 : A city civil court on Wednesday granted a seven-day anticipatory bail to former Karnataka Chief Minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) lawmaker H.D. Kumaraswamy in a mining scam in which a serving IAS officer was arrested on Monday.

“Judge Vanamala Anandrao has given the seven-day anticipatory bail to my client to enable the public prosecutor to file objections by then,” Kumaraswamy’s counsel Hasmath Pasha told IANS.

The JD-S lawmaker from the Ramanagara assembly segment, 60 km from here, filed for an interim bail on Tuesday, fearing the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the anti-corruption watchdog Lokayukta (Ombudsman) would arrest him in the mining scam that rocked the state from 2001-1010.

Kumaraswamy, who was the JD-S Chief Minister in 2006-07, is alleged to have given permission to extend the lease to Janthakal Enterprise, for extracting iron ore from the mineral-rich Ballari, Chitraduga and Tumukar districts and export it.

The license was extended for 40 years (1985-2025) on August 23, 2007, to the company owned by jailed mining baron Vinod Goel by former Mines and Geology Department Director and Principal Secretary Gang Ram Baderia on the basis of two forged letters from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

“I have no comment on the anticipatory bail given to Kumaraswamy. I respect the court order,” SIT Inspector General of Police K.S.R. Charan Reddy told reporters.

Kumaraswamy, younger son of JD-S supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, alleged that his opponents were trying to silence him by filing false cases and conspiring against him politically.

“I am ready to cooperate with the SIT though the case is a political conspiracy against me,” claimed Kumaraswamy at Raichur, about 500 km from the state’s northern district.

According to a complaint by Right to Information (RTI) activist T.J. Abhraham to the anti-corruption body, Kumaraswamy and many officials were involved in de-reserving forest areas in Ballari, about 330 km from Bengaluru in the state’s northern region.

Abraham filed the complaint with the findings of the former state Ombudsman Justice N. Santosh Hegde, who investigated the multi-crore mining scam in the state from 2001-2010 and indicted many politicians, ministers, lawmakers, officials and mining firms for their involvement in the irregularities.

On Monday, Karnataka’s Principal Secretary, Revenue, Ganga Ram Baderia was arrested by the Special Investigation Team of the state’s Lokayukta) for his alleged involvement in a mining scam a decade ago.

“Baderia gave permission to Janthakal Enterprises Ltd to export 1.2 lakh tonnes of iron ore on receiving Rs 10 lakh bribe from the mining firm when he was Director of the State’s Mines and Geology Department in 2007,” Lokayukta Inspector General of Police K.S.R. Charan Reddy said.

Baderia, a 1989 IAS batch officer, had also recommended renewal of the mining firm’s lease, with forged documents for allowing it to mine iron ore from the reserved forest area in Ballari district, as evident from his official notings in the files.

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