Krishna moves high court to quash illegal mining case

External affairs minister SM Krishna today petitioned the Karnataka High Court to quash the first information report (FIR) filed against him, a day after the police launched a probe into his alleged role in illegal mining when he was chief minister of the state during 1999-2004.

Krishna refused to comment on reporters' queries about his demand to resign in the wake of the allegations. The petition is likely to come up before the high court on Monday. "I have no comments," said Krishna.

Asked whether he was going to resign, he said, "The whole issue has been taken up in appeal. It is coming up before the honourable high court some time early next week. So, we will await the decision of the honourable high court."
In his petition, Krishna said he had not de-reserved any forest area for mining nor had he committed "any illegality or irregularity" in de-reservation of mining wealth in the state during his chief ministership, according to his counsel Ashok Haranahally.

Police attached to the Lokayukta (ombudsman) yesterday filed the FIR, with which a probe against Krishna, two of his predecessors and 11 serving and retired senior officials gets under way.

The other chief ministers who would be probed in the investigation are N Dharam Singh also of Congress and HD Kumaraswamy of Janata Dal–Secular. Both Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy are members of the Lok Sabha from Karnataka.

The FIR was registered after Lokayukta special court judge NK Sudhindra Rao on 3 December directed the police to probe the role of the three former chief ministers and the 11 officials in illegal mining in the state and submit a report by 6 January.