Amid Allegations of Illegal Mining in Mandya, Minister Says Probe Only if MP Has Evidence

Rejecting MP Sumalatha Ambareesh’s allegations of illegal mining in Mandya district of Karnataka, Mines and Geology Minister of the State Murugesh Nirani on Saturday said the government would order a probe if the MP produces documentary evidence. “As per my information, no mining activities are taking place around KRS Dam or Baby Betta area in Mandya district. I had personally visited the spot after being informed of illegal mining,” said the Minister.

“Besides, I had instructed officials to stop stone- quarrying after noticing the violation of rules and had fined the violators. There is a ban on stone-mining, he said. The independent Mandya MP, who was an actress, has been accusing JD(S) legislators on the issue over which she and former Chief Minister Kumaraswamy have been in a verbal duel.

Denying her charge, Nirani said the government is ready to order an investigation. Let Sumalatha Ambareesh produce documents related to illegal mining. We will order a thorough and fair investigation and take action as per the law,” he said.

Clarifying on the safety of KRS Dam, he said, “Mining has been banned within its 20-km radius. Officials have been instructed to collect information on illegal activities, if any.” “It is difficult to reveal the names of any politicians involved in stone-mining activities which have been happening over the last 70 years, he was quoted as saying by his office in a press release. Replying to the query on the verbal duel between Ambareesh and Kumaraswamy, the Minister said he respected the two and that indulging in mudslinging in public would not solve any problem.

Both are intelligent and have enough experience in politics. Its time they ended this spat. Politicians should not indulge in mudslinging and senior leaders should intervene to end the wordy duels, he added. The Minister’s statement came as Ambareesh today said she would meet Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on the matter.

“Recently, I gave a letter to the Chief Minister (on illegal mining in Mandya) on which he had written that strict action should be taken,” she said adding she would soon be visiting Baby Betta and KRS Dam. Ambareeh and Kumaraswamy began the spat on July 5 when he made personal attacks against her over allegations on mining and leasing out MySugar factory in Mandya to private industries.

She hit out at Kumaraswamy and his partymen for repeatedly mentioning the name of her late husband and actor-turned politician Ambareesh while criticising her. Kumaraswamy, however, in what is being seen as a call for truce today told his partymen to concentrate on other issues such as getting justice to Karnataka and Kannadigas.

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