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Reddys don't own mining lease in Karnataka: Lawyer

July 16, 2010 12:57 IST
The Karnataka assembly is in disarray. State ministers Janardhan Reddy and Karunakar Reddy are in the line of fire from an unrelenting Opposition over their allegedly illegal mining activities.

The Opposition is in no mood to settle for anything less than a Central Bureau of Investigation probe while the B S Yeddyurappa-led Bharatiya Janata Party government stands firmly behind its ministers. The Reddy brothers are fighting several cases in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, but their lawyer C V Nagesh is confident that this storm will tide over soon.

"Where is the question of illegal mining by my clients when they do not own a mining lease for a square foot of land in Karnataka?" Nagesh told's Vicky Nanjappa.

The Andhra Pradesh government had ordered a CBI probe against the mines belonging to the Reddy brothers. What is happening with that case?

The probe was ordered against the Obalipuram Mines, which my clients have the lease to in Andhra Pradesh. I have filed a writ petition before the Andhra Pradesh high court and the probe by the CBI has been stayed. I wish not to comment more on this since the matters is pending before the court.

The issue is that of illegal mining in Karnataka. Why can't your clients come clean on this issue and put and end to the daily ruckus in the Karnataka assembly?

(Laughs) What is there to come clean on this? The issue of coming clean arises only if we are mining in Karnataka. My clients do not have the mining lease to even an inch of land in Karnataka.

I find it amusing that the Opposition screams out aloud each day on illegal mining by the Reddy brothers.

We are ready to face the challenge. Let anyone in Karnataka come forward and show that we have the licences to even a single square foot of land in the state.

Where is the question of illegal mining or looting the state wealth in Karnataka when we do not mine over here at all?

How can there be smoke without fire? For the past two years people have been accusing your clients of illegal mining.

That is what even I fail to understand. We have mines in Andhra Pradesh. Let anyone go up to the mines and geology department, and ask for the details. Let us see if any mining lease is issued to my clients in Karnataka.

What about Obalipuram Mines? What about the activity over there?

As I said earlier, the matter is sub judice. Everything will be out in the open. This lease in Andhra Pradesh was issued almost 40 years back. There has been no problem since then. I fail to understand why it has come up now.

Your clients have been accused of altering the Andhra-Karnataka border to further their business interests. What are your thoughts on this?

Who are we to talk about it? An allegation has been made and it is for them to prove it.

If it is a case of alteration of borders then it is purely a Constitutional one. Both these states cannot do anything about it. It is for the Union government to decide.

But the Opposition seems pretty sure about illegal mining. Why do they seem so confident about it?

What do I say? The Opposition has no issue and hence they are screaming about it. They were desperate for a subject and think that they have got one. But this issue has been on for many years now.

When the Janata Dal-Secular and the Bharatiya Janata Party were in power together, did the Congress raise the issue at that time? Why now?

There was a Rs 150 crore bribery allegation made against then chief minister H D Kumaraswamy. Did the Congress then conduct itself in this fashion? Why now?

Are your clients opposed to the idea of a CBI probe?

Yes, very much. There is no doubt that the CBI has always been the Private Limited Company of whoever is in power at the Centre. Not once, but many times the CBI has twisted the case to suit the liking of the Union government.

Tomorrow, the CBI may turn around and accuse Yeddyurappa of fraud. It could be a false case and he may prove his innocence at a later stage. What happens until then? Will the Opposition or the people sit quiet? They will demand his ouster. The same applies to my clients.

There is a probe on in the state and I feel that is sufficient. We don't need the CBI here, which I am very sure will act in favour of the Union government's designs to destabilise the government here.

There is no logic in a CBI probe. Has the CBI done anything to Lalu Prasad Yadav or Mayawati? CBI probes are initiated only with an intention of wrecking malice and vengeance.

What is the next course of action for the Reddy brothers?

We have our answers ready. There is a case in the high court and the Election Commission, and we will fight it out. We have our replies ready.

Regarding the allegations of illegal mining, anyone is welcome to come forward and prove it.

Your clients are upset with the governor and have been demanding his ouster. Are you planning on suing Governor H R Bharadwaj?

Unfortunately, the governor has a shield against such cases. The manner in which he has been conducting himself by taking matters personally, he has only managed to undermine his Constitutional position.

All that my clients would like to say is that the governor should wake up and realise his limitations. The government is in the name of the governor and he always refers to it as 'My government' whenever he addresses the House or the President.

When this is the case, Governor Bharadwaj has to stop acting like an agent of the Congress.

Also Read:
What the Karnataka mining row is about
Why everyone has the Reddys in their sights
Conflicting issues complicate K'taka standoff