Illegal mining: Panel favours handing over CBI cases to SIT

Illegal mining: Panel favours handing over CBI cases to SIT

November 4, 2017

Bengaluru: With the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) opting out of the probe into some of the illegal iron ore export cases from Karnataka, the Cabinet Sub-Committee (CSC) on implementation of the Lokayukta Report on illegal mining is now all set to recommend handing over the same cases to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Police.

This comes in the backdrop of criticism that Chief Minister Siddharamaiah, who made the Lokayukta report an issue in the 2013 Assembly polls, has done little to implement it. The move also comes a day after BJP National President Amit Shah flagged off Parivartana Yatra, where he dubbed the Congress-led Government “the most corrupt in the country.” The cases pertain, for a large part, when the BJP was in power in Karnataka. The CBI that was probing cases of alleged illegal export of iron ore of more than 50,000 tonnes, had recently written to the Government saying they were closing preliminary enquiries into the cases, as they “did not find prima facie case made out to set the law in motion.”

The Lokayukta report on illegal mining named 130 companies — 76 in Mangaluru and 54 in Belekeri — for illegally exporting 3.65 lakh tonnes of iron ore. Following a 2012 Supreme Court order, all cases in which companies exported more than 50,000 tonnes of ore were being probed by the CBI, and cases where less than 50,000 tonnes of ore was exported were being probed by the SIT. While CBI has closed all preliminary enquiries, the SIT has filed as many as 72 cases and filed charge-sheets in 22 cases, said Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, T.B. Jayachandra.

“The CSC discussed the issue and favoured ordering a SIT probe or any other investigation agency to take the issue to its logical end. But the Committee is in favour of SIT. However, the Govt. will take a final call on the issue in the next Cabinet meeting. The worth of alleged illegal iron ore exported is around 5,000 crore, maybe even more,” said H.K. Patil, Chairman of the CSC and Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj.

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