Bengaluru: Just a day after senior Karnataka Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy slammed his own party and former chief minister Siddaramaiah, today (June 5) another veteran Congressman HK Patil has hit out at his colleague KJ George over a land deal.

Patil also slammed the Congress-JD(S) alliance government for selling 3,666 acres (2,000 acres in 2006 and 1,666 acres in 2007 at Toranagallu in Sandur taluk) of land to Sajjan Jindal-promoted JSW Steel in Ballari for a concessional price.

The government had claimed that Jindal fulfilled all conditions and George who is also the minister of large and medium size industry in the Cabinet of HD Kumaraswamy had claimed that Jindal had no dues towards the Karnataka government.

Now, Patil refuted this claim and said that Jindal has a due of over Rs 2,000 crore to be paid to the state government.

Patil had written two letters to chief minister Kumaraswamy in this regard. But despite that when minister George said that legal opinion has been taken and Jindal has no dues, Patil decided to go public and attached the related documents on Jindal's business and findings of the Lokayukta committee report  on his Twitter handle for the people to see.

Kumaraswamy, in a Cabinet meeting on Monday (June 3), had decided to execute an absolute sale deed in favour of the Mumbai-headquartered JSW company.

JSW Steel deputy managing director Vinod Nowal described the opposition to the Cabinet decision as “political”.

“We signed the MoU with Karnataka in 1995, and paid the price for the land as fixed by the government, and provided jobs to land losers. We have fulfilled all conditions, and the sale transaction was delayed because of elections,” Nowal was quoted as saying by Economic Times.

Patil has raised four concerns over the sale deed.

1. Government should not accept the application unless the Jindal company clears the due amount of over Rs 2,000 crore.

2) Jindal was involved in illegal mining as mentioned by report from then Lokayukta Santosh Hegde (Chapter 23). The government should not rush when cases are pending against the company.

3) Rate that is arrived at currently is not reasonable and it should be properly and legally looked into.

4) Law department has given opinion but this has been neglected or not taken into consideration by the government .

One of the documents provided by Patil stated, "The private-owned Jindal company has to pay over Rs 1,200 crore to government-owned Mysore Minerals Limited. But in the Cabinet meeting held on May 27, 2019, this fact was neglected, legal opinion was also not taken into consideration and the Cabinet approved the project of selling the land to Jindal. The same issue was discussed in the Cabinet meeting on January 30, 2015. But as per the letter written to the then CM Siddaramaiah  on January 29, 2015 the decision was  postponed and the government had decided to take legal opinion."

He also mentioned the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report in his letter.

Accordingly, the CAG report had stated: "During 2000-01 to 2009-10, 9.25 million tonnes of iron ore fines valued at Rs 1,052.89 crore was mined from TIOM. for which the company got Rs 63.17 crore by way of premium at the rate of 6 percent on the market price. However, JSW got a benefit to the tune of Rs 876.90 crore, because ore was supplied to them at transfer price. the non-availability of a matching mine from JSW had resulted in sole exploitation of the mines of Mysore Minerals Limited (MML), coupled with a low premium of 6 percent on iron ore fines and MML was also deprived of the lumps it was entitled from JSW mines. The one-sided agreement put the company to grave financial loss."

This might put Congress and the alliance government in legal trouble if not looked into properly.