New Delhi, May 31 (Agency)
Rebutting charges hurled at him by Team Anna, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Thursday indicated that he could sue them for accusing him of wrongdoing during his tenure as Karnataka chief minister and stressed that he will write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to repudiate the "motivated allegations."
Krishna said while he was open for a probe, it is "highly improper" for anyone to ask for another investigation when the Karnataka Lokayukta and the High Court have found no truth in the charges against him. He added that these allegations were aimed at maligning his "50 years of unblemished public life".
"If anybody makes personal allegations against me, then I deserve the right to react in a manner I think is proper," Krishna told reporters when asked whether he planned to sue Team Anna.
He was reacting to Team Anna's charges that during his tenure as Karnataka chief minister, he dereserved five forest blocks, comprising at least 10,000 hectares, for mining by private companies against the suggestions of the state forest secretary and forest minister. They also accused him of not permitting Mysore Minerals Limited from marketing high grade iron ore fines to benefit private players.
Krishna clarified that the affairs of the company were managed by its board of directors and he had no role in its decisions.
"I will reply in detail to all these motivated allegations in a letter to the prime minister," Krishna told reporters here.
Krishna also asserted that he was not afraid of any probe and underlined that N. Santosh Hegde, the then Lok Ayukta of Karantaka, conducted a detailed investigation and exonerated him of all the allegations. Subsequently, the high court quashed all allegations against him, he said.
"I have no reservation for any kind of inquiry against me," he said, adding that it was highly improper of anyone to ask for another investigation.
In a letter to Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal last week, Krishna had said: "The allegations made are wrong and baseless. Any action by you before public forum as threatened by you will be overreaching the judicial process."
When asked to react to allegations that the state cabinet in 2002 had decided to de-reserve forest land, he said the issue is pending before the Supreme Court.
"It is highly improper for the members of Team Anna to accuse me of something that is untrue. The matter is before the Supreme Court and the truth will come out soon," he said.
Krishna added that following the National Mineral Policy of 1993, the state cabinet decided to de-reserve the mineral-bearing areas which were till then reserved for state exploitation.
"No forest land as such was de-reserved but only the mineral bearing areas were de-reserved," he said. He explained that if mineral-bearing areas were found to be in forest lands, then prior approval from the centre had to be taken for carrying out mining activities.
He said though applications were received from interested parties, no application was processed during his tenure as the chief minister between 1999 and 2004.