Yeddyurappa gives clean chit to Reddy brothers

Bangalore, May 31: Refuting reports that BJP was distancing itself from the Reddy brothers on the illegal mining issue, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Tuesday gave them a clean chit, denying their involvement in the matter.

“It is not correct to say that they are involved in illegal mining. There is no truth in it,” Yeddyurappa told reporters when asked about the action he proposed to take against the Reddy brothers over illegal mining.

Yeddyurappa, however, said he was awaiting the final report to be submitted by the Lokayukta on illegal mining and said action would be initiated against those indicted in the report.

“According to me no charges have been levelled against them. I can’t presume. Let us wait for the report. We are not distancing from the Reddy brothers over the issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj sought to play down the row over inclusion of the Reddy brothers–Janardhana and Karunakara — in the Yedduyurappa Ministry and blamed the media for the controversy.

Speaking to reporters at Hyderabad, she also denied any difference of opinion between her and senior leader Arun Jaitley on the issue.

Yeddyurappa had yesterday endorsed the statement of Swaraj, perceived to be close to the mining magnates, that she did not influence anyone in their induction, and said he had inducted them after consulting the party high command.

Swaraj had also said that the Reddy brothers were inducted into the cabinet when Arun Jaitley was in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka and M Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar had been sent to Karnataka as central observers for cabinet-formation.

The Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee is already probing illegal mining in parts of Bellary and Andhra Pradesh. CBI is also investigating illegal mining in the neighbouring state.