BENGALURU: A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka Lokayukta on Thursday quizzed former chief minister and JD(S) State president H D Kumaraswamy for about two hours in relation to Janthakal Mining Company Pvt Ltd case. Kumaraswamy, who appeared before the SIT at 12 noon, was grilled till 2 pm.
The SIT posed specific questions about ‘ultimatum’ allegedly issued by him as chief minister to the then commissioner of mines and geology Ganga Ram Baderiya to allow Vinod Goel of Janthakal Mining Company to lift about 1 lakh tonnes of low grade iron ore and manganese dumped at Chitradurga in 2007, based on forged letters. Goel had allegedly forged letters purportedly issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, asking the State to allow the company to lift ore.
Kumaraswamy is said to have denied the charges, saying that he never interfered in the matter.
“I never issued such an ultimatum to any official and had no personal interest in the mining firm to favour them. Why would I ask the officials to give clearance to lift ore illegally?” Kumaraswamy shot back, sources said.
Later, Kumaraswamy told the media: “I have answered all the questions posed by the SIT and assured them that I would appear whenever required for further interrogation. I asked them to inform me in advance so that I could obey their orders.”
Kumaraswamy refused to divulge further details. “I need not disclose all the questions asked by the SIT and my answers to them,” he said.
Baderiya’s custody extended
The special Lokayukta court extended the police custody of senior IAS officer Ganga Ram Baderiya till May 20 on Thursday evening. They sought for extension of his custody on grounds that he was not cooperating during investigation. This apart, he was hospitalised on Wednesday after he complained of discomfort in the chest. He was discharged on Thursday.
Stating that hence it could not complete the interrogation from Monday to Wednesday, SIT pleaded for the custody of Baderiya to be extended. The court considered the plea and extended the custody, said a senior police official in SIT.
Baderiya, currently serving as Secretary, Revenue Department, was arrested by SIT on Monday, for alleged B10 lakh gains from Janthakal mining company through his son’s account. He is accused of allowing the mining company to lift about 1 lakh tonnes of low grade iron ore and manganese in Chitradurga.