Karnataka 'mining scam' leader Yeddyurappa quits

image captionMr Yeddyurappa says the allegations are baseless

The chief minister of the southern Indian state of Karnataka has resigned days after an anti-graft panel indicted him in an illegal mining scandal.

BS Yeddyurappa quit on Sunday following a decision by the leaders of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The anti-corruption report alleges the scam cost the exchequer more than $3bn (£1.8bn) from 2006-2010. Mr Yeddyurappa denies any wrongdoing.

Correspondents say illegal mining has been rife for years in Karnataka.

The state produces about 45 million tonnes of iron ore a year and exports more than half of it to China.


"I have resigned from the chief minister's post as directed by the party's high command [central leadership] after serving the state for over 38 months to the best of my ability," news agency AFP quoted Mr Yeddyurappa as saying.

He said he had been accused "unfairly".

For days, Mr Yeddyurappa resisted attempts to dislodge him from the chief minister's post. Reports say he is still negotiating for a role in the party.

Mr Yeddyurappa belongs to the influential Lingayat community and correspondents say his departure could threaten the survival of the BJP's only government in southern India.

The corruption panel report - officially submitted last Wednesday but widely leaked before that - names several other members of the BJP government, as well as Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) politicians in connection with the alleged scam.

The report details what it says is the illegal transport and export of iron ore from the state.

The embattled chief minister is also facing charges of corruption and nepotism in land deals and is being investigated separately by the courts.

The affair is highly embarrassing for the party after months on the offensive against India's governing Congress party, which itself is embroiled in a series of damaging corruption scandals.

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