Bangalore, July 17: Lokayukta Santosh Hegde on Saturday said that if the State Government expected him to conduct a comprehensive investigation into mining, he would require additional security to do field work, and may seek the help of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
“I will not be asking for more than four to five officers of my choice. I may also seek the help of the CBI. The government need not have apprehensions that the CBI would be probing the issue. But I may seek information from the CBI,” Hegde told Deccan Herald.
Asked when the probe into the Belekeri port case would be completed, Hegde said it would take some more time.
He said he knew how the mining barons in ore rich districts of Karnataka operated. Hence, no individual can claim that he is has no mining lease in Bellary and therefore he is not into illegal mining.
“We know how the system works in Bellary. So if somebody says that I have no mining lease in Bellary and I am not into illegal business, I do not subscribe to it”.
Asked whether removal of the Reddy brothers from the government would help in exposing the mining mafia, he said he would not like to comment on it.
“But I am not on a mission to catch any particular fish. I have never asked the government to permit me to conduct an inquiry against any particular individual”, he said.
To a question whether he would be able to investigate even if the Reddys continued in power, Hegde said he would have problems only “when someone interfered in the investigation”.
He also said that the investigation which his office did during 2000-2006 exposed illegal mining in the ore rich districts. But people or companies who are into mining and trading have not been investigated. “I have never stated in my report that OMC of the Reddys is into illegal mining. Because I have not probed into that aspect at all. I have no material evidence to establish any charges”, he reiterated.
Asked what exactly Chief Minister Yeddyurappa is expecting him to investigate in the period since 2002, the Lokayukta said he is yet to get a communication from the government. He emphatically said he would take up investigation which he can complete in one year.
“I will be retiring in a year’s time. I do not want to leave any work incomplete. So, I am particular about taking up work which I can complete”, he said.