Bangalore: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Friday petitioned the Karnataka High Court to quash the illegal mining case against him, a day after police launched a probe into his alleged role in illegal mining when he was chief minister 1999-2004. The high court is likely to hear the petition on Monday.
Krishna has contended in the petition that he had not de-reserved any forest area for mining nor has he committed "any illegality or irregularity" in de-reserving mining wealth in the state during his chief ministership, his counsel Ashok Haranahally told reporters here. Police attached to the Lokayukta (ombudsman) on Thursday filed the FIR, marking formal launch of a probe, against Krishna, two of his predecessors and 11 serving and retired senior officials.
The other two former chief ministers are N. Dharam Singh, also of Congress and H.D. Kumaraswamy of Janata Dal-Secular. Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy are now Lok Sabha members from Karnataka.
The FIR was registered after Lokayukta special court judge N.K. Sudhindra Rao on Dec 3 directed the police to probe the role of the three former chief ministers and the 11 officials in illegal mining in the state and submit a report by Jan 6.
The directive came on the complaint against the 14 by a Bangalore businessman and social activist T.J. Abraham that they had played a major role in facilitating illegal mining in return for financial gains.
Krishna has denied the allegations and termed them as "unholy attempts" at "character assassination". He has said he was confident that judiciary will put an end to such attempts.
Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy have also denied the charges against them.
In a related development, Krishna found support from his bete-noire in Karantaka politics, former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who heads the JD-S. He told a Kannada TV channel in New Delhi that there was no need for Krishna to resign just because FIR has been filed.
"Sitting in Delhi, Krishna cannot tamper with evidence in Karnataka and hence there is no need for him to quit," he said.
Several opposition parties, particularly the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is now in power in Karnataka, demanded Krishna's resignation soon after the FIR was registered.