Karnataka minister Santosh Lad resigns over illegal mining charge

9:30 AM, Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
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sanyhosh-ladBangalore: Facing increasing heat over allegations of illegal mining, Karnataka minister of state for information and infrastructure development Santosh Lad on Friday resigned, in the first political casualty of the six-month-old Congress government in the state.

Lad submitted his resignation letter to chief minister Siddaramaiah who, sources said, had asked him to put in his papers and was also reportedly told by governor H.R. Bhardwaj to drop the minister.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Siddaramaiah, Lad said, “I voluntarily submitted my resignation to the chief minister. I have taken a moral stand in the interest of the party”.

A mining baron from Bellary district, Lad, who earlier met president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) G. Parameshwara, said both the latter and Siddaramaiah were “taken by surprise” by his decision to quit and “tried to console” him.

He said he wanted to avoid embarrassment to the party and the government, maintaining that there was no pressure from either the chief minister or the party’s central leadership.

Lad’s resignation comes just two days before the winter session of the legislature is slated to begin on Monday, with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (Secular) preparing to put the government on the mat over the issue. The move is seen as an attempt by the government to disarm the opposition.

The iron ore mining company in which the 38-year old Lad is partner is linked to another firm owned by his kith and kin which allegedly indulged in illegal mining.

Lad had repeatedly denied that his company was engaged in illegal mining.

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