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Mining Scam: Dharam Singh

It has come to light, that the former governor of the state, Rameshwar Thakur, had written to the state Lokayukta to delete reference to the former state chief minister Dharam Singh from the Lokayukta investigation report on illegal mining activities in the state.

It may be recalled, that the Lokayukta had forwarded a copy of the report on the mining scam, to the state governor. The Lokayukta had written, that taking action against a former chief minister was outside the purview of the state government and had accordingly, suggested to the governor to initiate suitable action against Singh. In response thereof, the governor had asked the Lokayukta to delete the name of Dharam Singh from the report itself!

As this happened to be the final report on the illegal mining activities figuring Dharam Singh's involvement, the Lokayukta had referred these activities to the governor for suitable action. Although the governor in turn, recommended for removing Singh's name from the report, the possibility of doing anything at this juncture is remote, in view of the fact that the report has already been submitted to the state government.

In his report, the Lokayukta had estimated that the state government lost about Rs 23 crore because of the decisions taken by the government when he was in charge. At the same time, he had pointed out that there is no evidence about Singh having accepted any gratification for the favours conceded by him. Rameshwar Thakur, who was transferred to Madhya Pradesh on June 29, had written a letter six days prior to his relief, on June 23. As the Lokayukta was on leave, the letter reached him on July 6 and the enclosure to the letter, written by the secretary to the governor, explains reason for the delayed delivery of letter.

It is learnt, the governor had discussed the issue earlier too with the Lokayukta, arguing that the inclusion of the name of Dharam Singh in the report can not be accepted. The governor rested his opinion on the argument that the former chief minister might have taken some decisions in public interest. However, the Lokayukta, in his report, had cited that causing loss to the government does not fall under public interest. The governor also had questioned the move of the Lokayukta to form a committee for investigating illegal mining.

In the action taken report the government has submitted to the Lokayukta, the government has claimed that it is seeking legal opinion on the recommendation against Dharam singh.

The incident might gain political overtones in the coming days, and the gubernatorial post of the governor might come under clouds and the Congressmen might be accused of using this position for their personal benefits.

No Action against Officials: In the meantime, the government seems to be dragging its feet on the issue of making the guilty officials accountable, based on the Lokayukta report. It has not even initiated the process of department inquiry against IAS officers Gangaram Baderia, Dr D S Ashwath, Mahendra Jain, V Umesh, I R Perumal, IPS officer Jija Harisingh and the then mining department director Dr Basappa. There is no indication that it would do so at an early date. The Lokayukta had indicated, that the loss the government has suffered because of the action of these officials, has to be recovered from the concerned officers. As the Lokayukta had already served notices and prepared the report after verifying the objections filed by the concerned officers, the government's stand that it has kept pending the necessary action against some of the officers as they have filed objections, does not hold water. Many believe that the government wants to protect these officials, who allegedly caused losses running into hundreds of crores of rupees to Mysore Minerals td, due to their actions.

Source: Daiji World


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