New Delhi/Bengaluru: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Karnataka police to initiate a probe against two former chief ministers of the state—H.D. Kumaraswamy and Dharam Singh—and submit a report within three months.
The case is related to accusations that the two chief ministers de-registered a huge tract of forest land and allowed illegal iron ore mining on a large scale in the state between 1999 and 2004.
A bench comprising justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Rohinton F. Nariman also barred other courts from entertaining cases related to the probe.
Another former chief minister, S.M. Krishna, was also an accused in the case, but the apex court stayed investigations against him in November.
The bench indicated that it could consider lifting the stay if required.
“I welcome the apex court’s directions to complete the probe into illegal mining report submitted by Lokayukta Justice N. Santosh Hegde in three months time," Kumaraswamy said in a statement on Wednesday.
Krishna and Singh could not be reached for comment.
In 2011, a special Lokayukta court had initiated a probe against Krishna and Kumaraswamy and later extended it to Singh, based on the anti-corruption bureau’s report on illegal mining.
In his report, justice (retd) N. Santosh Hegde, then Lokayukta chief had said that illegal mining in many parts of the state had caused a loss of Rs12,200 crore to the exchequer and recommended action against those involved.
T.J. Abraham, a Bengaluru-based activist, had moved the court against the three former chief ministers and several top bureaucrats. Kumaraswamy is accused of receiving a Rs150 crore kickback for allegedly granting a mining lease to an unregistered mining firm during his tenure as chief minister.