Probe illegal iron ore mining in Karnataka: SC to CBI
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered a CBI inquiry into illegal extraction of 50.7 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore in 17 months from Bellary forest area of Karnataka and wondered how the state remained uninformed of the continuous illegal mining on such a massive scale.delhi Updated: Sep 08, 2012 01:49 IST
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered a CBI inquiry into illegal extraction of 50.7 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore in 17 months from Bellary forest area of Karnataka and wondered how the state remained uninformed of the continuous illegal mining on such a massive scale.
Directing the investigating agency to register an FIR, a special forest bench of justices Aftab Alam, KS Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar asked the CBI to also probe how 5lakh MT iron ore, seized by the forest department at the instance of Lokayukta, was exported to foreign firms from the Belekeri port. The CBI has to submit a report within six weeks.
The four Port Service Providers (stevedores), operating from the Belekeri port are Adani Enterprises, Shree Mallikarjun Shipping, Salgaoncar Mining Industries and Rajmahal Silks.
In a release issued in response to the SC order, Adani Enterprises said it did not have any interest in iron ore mining nor owned any mine. It said Adani Enterprises was one of the four port service providers at the Belekeri port to exporters. “As a port service operator, the company’s responsibility was limited to storing and loading cargo from the stack area onto the barges and then into the mother vessel, based on instructions of exporters and orders passed by the Customs,” it said.
Questioning the government departments’ ignorance of illegal mining, the bench gave the CBI liberty to conduct custodial interrogation and said it should conduct a comprehensive probe into illegality of iron extraction from Bellary forest and its transportation to Belekeri port between Janaury 1, 2009 and May 31, 2010.
It also asked the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry on the basis of the two reports of the SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee and passed a restraint order prohibiting other courts to entertain any plea related to the case.