Every finger is in the till: Justice Hegde on illegal mining

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Bangalore:  Santosh Hegde, the Lokayukta or ombudsman of Karnataka, will present this month his report on illegal mining in the state.

The report is expected to indict the BJP government for failing to check illegal mining, despite warnings from Mr Hegde among others, and ample evidence presented by environmentalists and experts.

"There is no political will to stop illegal mining, everybody's finger is in the till," said Mr Hegde.

So far, he has refused to comment on whether his report will fault the powerful Reddy brothers who are mining barons from Bellary and are ministers in the BJP government.

Mr Hegde has alleged that senior BP leaders had approached him and asked him not to mention Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa in his report. The party has denied this. "It is my word against theirs," said Mr Hegde today.

He also said that the losses to the state from illegal mining far exceed 700 crores, the figure he quoted in an earlier report.


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