Bengaluru: The arrest of a Karnataka IAS officer earlier this week by a Special Investigation Team or SIT could mean trouble for former chief minister, HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal Secular. The issue - once again - is illegal mining.
Revenue Secretary, Gangaram Baderiya, has been accused of involvement in a case of irregular clearances for Janthakal Mines at a time when he was commissioner of mines and geology in 2007. This was also the time when Mr Kumaraswamy was Karnataka chief minister.
Investigation into illegal mining in Karnataka is certainly not new. An extensive report by the then Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde, had named politicians from all major parties and also bureaucrats for alleged involvement in illegal iron ore mining deals that robbed the state of much revenue. The then chief minister, the BJP's BS Yeddyurappa, was forced to step down in connection with allegations made in the report. Mr Baderiya's name was also in the report.
The fresh evidence that came to light against him was reportedly a cheque of 10 lakhs issues in the name of his son by Janthakal Mines. The company was permitted by Mr Baderia, in his role of Commissioner, Mines and Geology to lift waste dumps of iron ore.
But the fresh arrest in this case has seen Mr Kumaraswamy apply for anticipatory bail - he was the man in charge of the state at that time. A noting by Mr Baderia indicated that the chief minister's office had pushed through the clearance.
Mr Kumaraswamy has denied any wrong doing.