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News18 » Politics
2-min read

Made K'taka Forest Minister Despite Facing Illegal Mining Cases, Turncoat Anand Singh Brazens it Out

Anand Singh, a Congress turncoat who was inducted into the Karnataka cabinet last week, was given the Forest portfolio despite being under the scanner over illegal mining cases.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:February 14, 2020, 6:43 PM IST
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Made K'taka Forest Minister Despite Facing Illegal Mining Cases, Turncoat Anand Singh Brazens it Out
Karnataka Forest Minister Anand Singh. (Image: Twitter)

Bengaluru: Amid mounting outrage over his appointment as forest minister, Anand Singh stuck to his guns on cases against him under the Karnataka Forest Act, saying the portfolio has been given to him by Chief Minister Yediyurappa and he would abide by what the CM says.

Singh, a Congress turncoat who was inducted into the cabinet last week, was given the Forest portfolio despite being under the scanner over illegal mining cases. Singh and his family own mining leases in Bellary in north Karnataka.

"These are not cases that are directly on my role. These are group offences. They are politically motivated too. I will give you the list of cases against me, there are no cases under forest act. One was there, but that got finality in Supreme Court. It was called infructuous," Singh told the media at the Vidhana Souda in Bengaluru.

“People like Valmiki too had a questionable past, but went on to write the Ramayana that is revered in the entire world today. Are wrong-doers never to be allowed to reform," he added.

"My family does business. I'm not a proprietor but it is a family business," he claimed, while stating that if a person driving a car has a case against him, should the owner of the car be hauled up too.

Asked if he will give up his portfolio, he said it is not a decision only he would take, it would have to be taken by leaders and he would abide by whatever decision party seniors take.

Interestingly, the list of cases the minister himself showed the media included 11 cases filed by the Lokayukta between 2014 and 2015. Singh has got all these cases stayed in the High Court.

There are three other cases filed by the anti-corruption branch of the CBI which are going through a trial right now. A 15th case in a local court in Hospet in Bellary has been stayed by a district court.

Former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde, who headed the exhaustive probe on illegal mining in 2013, called the choice of Singh for the forest portfolio “unfortunate”.

"It is the forest department that has to take these cases forward, will any officer pursue a case against his own minister? Giving such a portfolio to him is a black mark on democracy. Of course, we must be cautious about who we vote for. But let us not believe that vesting such responsibility on such persons without caring for what others think is right," Hegde told News18.

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