Spelling more trouble for the Bellary brothers, the CBI on Saturday conducted raids at 17 locations in Karnataka and Goa, and registered five new cases in the Rs. 2,500-crore iron ore export scam.
Jailed mining baron and BJP MLA G Janardhana Reddy’s firms and associates were also raided and questioned on Saturday.
The CBI conducted searches across Bangalore, Karwar, Hospet and Goa and filed FIRs against Shree Mallikarjun Shipping Pvt Ltd (Karwar), Salgaocar Mining Industries Pvt Limited (Goa), Rajmahal Silks, Adani Enterprises, SB Logistics (Hospet) and Swastik Steels of Swastik Nagaraj, among others.
A 10-member CBI team also searched the houses of Karapudi Mahesh, Swastik Nagaraj and Somasekhar, who runs a transport firm, all aides of Reddy, the sources said.
Sources in the CBI said over 50 lakh tonnes of iron ore was illegally exported and four exporters — ILC Industries, SB Logistics, Dream Logistics and Shree Mallikarjun Shipping Pvt Ltd — were involved in half of these exports.
According to a report in PTI, Adani has stated that the company is a mere service provider and is not in a position to check mandatory clearances/permissions/permits as it does not have the authority to do so.
In its earlier directions to the CBI to probe the scam, the Supreme Court had also questioned the role of the law enforcing agencies, as to how these agencies could have remained unaware of illegal mining on such a large scale and transportation of minerals to the Belekeri port over months.
The CBI officials even raided the Belekeri port and secured several documents, sources said.
The CBI has also started preliminary investigation on the export of iron ore from the Belekeri port between January 2009 and May 2010.