Court denies Kumaraswamy bail in illegal mining case

Former Karnataka chief minister and state Janata Dal (Secular) president H D Kumaraswamy was today denied anticipatory bail by a special court in Bengaluru in an illegal mining case.

Lokayukta Court judge Gopal rejected the bail prayer of Kumaraswamy, who has been summoned by the Lokayukta's special investigation team in connection with the case.

"I need not panic because my anticipatory bail plea has been rejected. I have to follow my advocate's advice. My future course of action will be decided by my advocate," Kumaraswamy later told reporters.

"I do not have any role in this case ... I will prove myself innocent," the state JD(S) chief said.

The anti-graft watchdog court had granted seven days' interim bail to Kumaraswamy on 17 May in the Janthakal mining case.

Kumaraswamy, the son of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, is accused of putting pressure on the then commissioner of mines, Gangaram Baderiya, to clear a file in favour of mining firm Janthakal in 2007, when he was the chief minister.

Baderiya, now the principal secretary (revenue), was arrested by a Special Investigation Team on 15 May for allegedly allowing the firm to illegally lift one million tonnes of mined ore in Chitradurga based on forged documents.

Earlier, Kumaraswamy had accused the Congress government of targeting him ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls.

Kumaraswamy is alleged to have given permission to extend the lease to Janthakal Enterprise for extracting iron ore from the mineral-rich Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumakuru districts and export it.

The license was extended for 40 years (1985-2025) on 23 August 2007. The company is owned by jailed mining baron Vinod Goel.

The extension on license was granted by Baderia, who was former 'mines and geology department' director, on the basis of two allegedly forged letters from the union ministry of environment and forests.