SC stays proceedings against S M Krishna

New Delhi: In a reprieve for External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, the Supreme Court today stayed the Karnataka High Court order directing Lokayukta Police to probe him in the alleged illegal mining during his tenure as the Chief Minister of the state.

"We are inclined to stay the proceedings. Accordingly the proceedings on the FIR on the issue ordered by the Karnataka Lokayukta will remain stayed," a bench comprising justices Altamas Kabir and Gyan Sudha Misra said.

The bench also said that the probe ordered by the Lokayukta court was "premature".
It issued notice to Karnataka Government and the complainant, on whose plea the FIR was registered and sought their response within three weeks.

The court passed the orders on a plea by Krishna, seeking quashing of private complaint and probe by Lokayukta police against him over alleged illegal mining when he wass Karnataka Chief Minister from 1999 to 2004.

The petition by Krishna had challenged the January 20 decision of the Karnataka High Court by which his plea for quashing the private complaint and proceedings ordered by the Lokayukta Special Court against him was declined.

He had contended that the Cabinet decision was a collective one taken by 34 ministers and an individual cannot be held responsible for it. The high court had ordered that investigation should continue into offences relating to dereservation of forest area in mineral-rich fragile zones. .

Krishna, Chief Minister from 1999 to 2004, however had got some relief from the high court when it quashed the charges of mismanagement of state-owned Mysore Minerals Limited by him on the ground "it does not constitute any cognisable offence and do not call for investigation".

The proceedings by a Lokayukta Special Court was initiated on December 8 last on a private complaint against him. Krishna had challenged the Lokayukta court order in the high court which had on December 15 last stayed the FIR against him.

Social activist T J Abraham had filed a private complaint against Krishna and former Chief Ministers H D Kumaraswamy N Dharam Singh seeking action against them for allegedly facilitating illegal mining.