Former NCL chief executive arrested by Chhattisgarh forest department | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Former NCL chief executive arrested by Chhattisgarh forest department

Hindustan Times, Raipur | By
Mar 14, 2020 08:36 AM IST

Prabhakar had illegally issued a tender for deforestation of forest land in deposit number 13 of Bailadila hills and the tender was granted to one private contractor BK Lala.

A local court in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada has granted bail to former chief executive officer of NCL after he was arrested by the state’s forest department on the charges of illegal deforestation of forest land at Bailadila iron deposit, officials said.

Prabhakar’s permission led to 582 trees being cut in the area due to which the department suffered a loss of Rs 457,830, the FIR said.(HT Archive)
Prabhakar’s permission led to 582 trees being cut in the area due to which the department suffered a loss of Rs 457,830, the FIR said.(HT Archive)

The NCL is a joint venture of NMDC and Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC).

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VS Prabhakar, who is the present executive director with NMDC in Hyderabad, was booked under various sections of Indian Forest Act, 1927, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, on May 5, 2019, by the Chhattisgarh forest department.

Prabhakar was granted bail by the local court in Dantewada on Thursday evening on medical grounds when he fell unconscious in the court after hearing that he has been arrested under non-bailable sections.

According to the first information report (FIR) registered against him, Prabhakar had illegally issued a tender for deforestation of forest land in deposit number 13 of Bailadila hills and the tender was granted to one private contractor BK Lala.

Subsequently, 582 trees were cut in the area due to which the department suffered a loss of Rs 457,830, the FIR said.

Prabhakar refuted the charges of Chhattisgarh forest department and claimed he is not guilty.

“I acted on the behalf of an organisation but the Chhattisgarh forest department is targeting an individual, which I feel is not correct,” said Prabhakar.

The current CEO of NCL, Pankaj Sharma, refused to comment over the development.

“In the Bailadila, deposit 13, the case against an official of NMDC for the illegal deforestation without the knowledge of the forest department should be welcomed but the case should also be registered against the operator of the mine,” Alok Shukla of the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, who has been tracking environment regulations in the state for the past 15 years, said.

On March 4, a Chhattisgarh government probe report had revealed that no consent was taken from the gram sabha in 2014 by NCL for iron ore mining Bailadila Hill, considered sacred by local tribal communities.

The mine was being operated by Adani Enterprises Limited under the central government’s mine developer and operator (MDO) scheme. Under the scheme, the original lessee, a government public sector enterprise, can give the mine to a third party for operation purposes.

On March 6, following the probe report, Chhattisgarh forest department issued a notice to NMDC asking why the second stage clearance for forest land allotted for an iron ore project in Dantewada’s Bailadila Hill should not be cancelled. The forest department also asked NMDC to file its reply within seven days.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    State Correspondent for Chhattisgarh. Reports Maoism, Politics, Mining and important developments from the state. Covered all sorts of extremism in Central India. Reported from Madhya Pradesh for eight years.

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