Benami mine owners implicate selves

Benami mine owners implicate selves

Benami mine owners implicate selves

The extracts of the letter written by Somanth V Sakare of Sri Sai Venkateshwara Minerals Ltd (SSVM), in response to Singh’s queries, are detailed in Singh’s report which is part of the Lokayukta’s final report on mining in Karnataka. Deccan Herald procured the report under the Right to Information Act on Saturday from the government. The report runs into 1,810 pages.

Sakare, a PWD contractor from Maharashtra had introduced himself as a leading manufacturer of steel and iron rods to the Mines & Geology Department. He had applied for a mining lease over 550 acres area in the NEB range, Sandur taluk, Bellary on April 17, 2004, in the offices of Director, Mines and Geology, Bangalore.

In his application he had stated that SSVM is a private company, but when interrogated by Singh, he confesses that it is an unregistered partnership firm, and admits that he is a PWD contractor and not a mine owner.

It is revealed that Sakare had also furnished false address in his application.
“To U V Singh, CCF – I have received your fax letter on Februray 22. I am hereby submitting the following records. The firm – SSVM, is not registered because no transaction or trading has been done with this firm so far. We have not obtained VAT registration from either Karnataka or Maharashtra. Rajkumar Agarwal is my partner, and he filed an application for grant of mining lease under the MMDR Act before the Director, Mines, Bangalore,” Sakare’s letter said.

“The partnership deed has been enclosed with the letter. The Karnataka Sales Tax  (KTS) and Maharashtra Sales Tax (MTS) have not been obtained. We have not opened any account by this firm Sri Sai Venkateshwara Minerals, because no trading or transaction has been done by this firm.”

This is the same case, where former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy is indicted by the Lokayukta. Kumaraswamy approves the proposal, in violation of Rule 59 of Mineral Concession Rules 1960, on October 5, 2007. It is also revealed that Vinod Goel, who also claims to be proprietor of  SSVM, colludes with the officials and eliminates the application of Sakare by tampering to get a mining lease allotted in his favour.
Singh recommends action against both the applicants (criminal proceedings against Goel), and officials including in this irregularity.

Confession No 2:

Singh also manages to extract a confession from K Kashi Vishwanath (35), another benami owner of Bhakta Markandeshwara Minerals, Hospet, which was founded in 2008. Singh who traced Vishwanath through the information obtained by Income Tax sleuths from Karapudi Mahesh’s computer, found crores of rupees being transacted from his bank accounts.

Following is their interaction.

Q: Have you registered Bhakta Markandeshwara Minerals, Hospet?
A: I am not very sure about registration.
Q: Are you a sole proprietor of your firm, or do you have a partner?
A: I am the sole proprietor of the firm, and there is no other partner. Three months ago my cousin brother K Govindaraju, s/o K Nagaraju, has become the partner. I have not informed the Commercial Taxes department regarding the additional partner.
Q: Have you opened any bank accounts subsequent to obtaining TIN number in any other banks?
A: Yes, I have opened an account (No 336) in Axis Bank, Hospet; in Lakshmivilas Bank and Axis Bank, Bellary. But I am not very sure about the number. I cannot remember them. I don’t remember when I opened the account.
Q: Have you taken any transit permits from Mines and Geology department?
A: No. I don’t know what they are.
Q: Have you drawn crores of rupees from your bank account?
A: No idea. One Ramesh, s/o Gangappa, Dharwad knows about it. I don’t have his add­r­ess. I have not paid any amount for his services through cheques, but we are sharing 50 per cent each out of Rs 1 as commission.
Q: How much amount have you paid as VAT to the government?
A: I have paid VAT of Rs 60 lakh in March 2011, but I don’t remember of earlier payments. I haven’t paid VAT monthly, though I was collecting it on the bills issued by me on behalf of the firm on request of said Ramesh.
Q: Have you purchased and sold iron ore in the name of your firm?
A: No, I haven’t purchased or sold iron ore. I have only issued bills.
Q: Are you signing cheques for all the accounts?
A: Yes, but I am not sure about the amount transacted.
Q: Have you signed an agreement with Krishnapatanam Port Co Ltd?
A: No idea. I remember signing one application.
On March 11, Anil Yendluri, CEO of Krishnapatnam Port Co­mpany Ltd writes to U V Singh.

Action against tainted officers

Singh has recommended action against former director Mines, S K Prabhakar;  former under secretary, Mines, K Jayachandra (retd) and C&I department section officer D G Patagar (presently SO, finance department) and other officials involved directly or indirectly in the SSVM case. In the Lokayukta report, Prabhakar’s name appears as ‘former director, Mines, K S Prabhakar’. However, in Singh’s report, the name appears as ‘S K Prabhakar’.