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Thakur cleared Dharam's name in mining scam

A fresh controversy has erupted over previous governor Rameshwar Thakur's letter giving a clean chit to former chief minister N Dharam Singh, in the alleged illegal mining scam. Thakur's letter, which reached the Lok Ayukta's office more than a week after it was written, reportedly states that Singh, as CM, took the decision in the interest of the public and could be let off in the alleged mining scam.

The big question now is: what caused the delay in Thakur's letter reaching the Lok Ayukta office? "The letter reached the office on July 6, while Thakur wrote it on June 23,'' sources said. He demitted office on June 29.

As per directions, Lok Ayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde inquired into the illegal mining activities from 2000 to 2007. The report highlighted that crores of royalty which the state government had lost was due to the nexus between politicians, bureaucrats, police and those in the mining business. The inquiry report also points a finger to Singh's tenure, during whose time the government lost revenue to the tune of over Rs 23 crore.

The loss caused to the exchequer by a former chief minister and 11 government servants, including one IPS and 6 IAS officials, in the scam is Rs 712.07 crore. The government has not made the report public and instead, appointed a three-member panel of IAS officers to go through the recommendations. "Initiate proceedings under Section 12(3) of the Lok Ayukta Act. A separate recommendation is made to the competent authority to initiate appropriate proceedings against the former CM for recovery of the loss,'' the report said.

Hegde, in his report, is said to have asked Thakur to initiate action against Singh for his alleged involvement. However, Thakur is said to have given Singh a clean chit before demitting office. Meanwhile, chief secretary Sudhakar Rao, while submitting the action taken report (ATR) to the Lok Ayukta, reportedly told him that action should be taken against those named in the report.

With this development, the BJP, which has been accused of encouraging illegal mining activities, is preparing to put the blame squarely back on the Congress.

The other officers who have been named in the report are: V Umesh, I R Perumal, D S Aswath, Mahendra Jain, K S Manjunath (all IAS), Jija M Harisingh (IPS), H Srinivas, R Ramappa and Shankarlingaiah.

Source: TOI


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