Once bitten twice shy, you’d expect. But Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa ran headlong last week into controversy over—believe it or not—a mining baron. After some of his newly-appointed cabinet ministers grumbled about portfolios allotted to them, the CM reshuffled their departments. In the process, Anand Singh, an MLA and mine owner from Bellary, ended up with the forest ministry. The backlash was quick to follow.
Singh’s election affidavit lists 15 pending criminal cases—11 filed by the Karnataka Lokayukta under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act and the forest protection law, one case by the forest department and three by the CBI. Singh, in his defence, said he has obtained a stay from the Karnataka High Court on the Lokayukta cases. With criticism mounting, he told reporters that he was ready to give up the ministry if the CM wanted him to.