"I am very happy", the former Supreme Court judge said on the Cabinet's decision yesterday on handing over probe into the scam to a Special Investigation Team (SIT), CBI and Enforcement Directorate and also establish a special court to try such cases.
"I think it's the first step that the Government is taking and I find it's a major step", Hegde said. Hegde's final report submitted in July 2011 estimated the loss of revenue to the state exchequer due to illegal mining in the State between 2006 and 2010 at more than Rs 16,000 crore.
The report had also named 797 officials. Following his indictment in the report, the then Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had to quit complying with the direction of the BJP's central leadership.
"I hope it (the probe) will be taken to its logical conclusion", Hegde said. The Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, gave the green signal for investigation by CBI into illegal export of iron ore from seven ports in Karnataka and neighbouring States.
Yeddyurappa had to quit complying with the direction of the BJP's leadership.
The government also said an SIT would be constituted. The issues to be probed include evasion of royalty to the Government and forest development tax. It also announced that a special court would be established to try cases of illegal mining.
To investigate cases relating to investment made from the wealth of illegal mining, the Cabinet decided to hand over such cases to the ED and facilitation of invoking of the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Obviously referring to the previous BJP government, Hegde said nothing had been done to act on his reports in the last two years and there was a lot of "dilly-dallying" and "excuses".