BSY, HDK, Dharam under SC mining lens

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BSY, HDK, Dharam under SC mining lens

 The roles of former CMs Dharam Singh and H D Kumaraswamy, Yeddyurappa and Tourism Minister Janardhan Reddy are currently being investigated by the  panel following an SC directive to submit a report by mid-April.

Kumaraswamy’s role in the illegal transport of iron ore by Jantakal Enterprises in Chitradurga district during his tenure has been raised by petitioners Samudaya Parivarthan Samaj. File notings made by the deputy commissioner show that the CM’s office made repeated calls ordering permission for removing ore dumped in the lease area and giving the deputy commissioner two hours to pass orders permitting lifting of one lakh tonnes of dumped ore. Subsequently, it was found that the forest clearance produced by the firm was fake.

Three cases have been brought to the notice of the committee against the Reddys. Ananthpur Mining Corporation(AMC), owned by Tourism Minister Janardhan Reddy’s family, is alleged to have assisted in illegally mining in the defunct Black Gold Mines (BGM). In 2006, transport permit that the BGM issued to lift waste dumps was used to move freshly mined ore by the Mines Department. Financial statements by the AMC around the same time record transactions with Black Gold. And the AMC also recorded extraction of 1.94 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore, the exact same quantity for which transport permits were issued to Black Gold.

The committee will also look into the progress of an investigation against Bellary MLA and Karnataka Milk Federation Chairman Somashekar Reddy who allegedly interfered in an investigation by Lokayukta officer U V Singh.

An FIR filed by an officer of the Mines and Geology Department has named Reddy in a case of illegal mining at Ramgadh in Sandur taluk. The FIR states that a supervisor, when questioned about the illegal mining, claimed that the mining was being undertaken on the suggestion of Reddy through his associates.

Also under investigation is the dropping of criminal charges against Janardhan Reddy and his supporters by the state government for allegedly demolishing the ancient Sugalamma Devi temple during mining.

The allegations of “quid pro quo” donations by Jindal Steel Works(JSW) to a trust run by the family of  Yeddyurappa is also being investigated. Specific details on contractual obligations of JSW Steel towards their joint venture with the state government Vijayanagara Minerals Pvt Ltd and any concessions granted have been sought by the petitioners.

The committee has also asked the state government about the action initiated against former chief Minister Dharam Singh. The 2008 Lokayukta report had indicted him for issuing temporary permits to transport ore illegally mined from patta lands.

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