As State dithers, AP govt moves against Reddy

As State dithers, AP govt moves against Reddy

Janardhana Reddy, who was arrested in connection with the alleged illegal mining case registered in Andhra Pradesh, is likely to lose the mining lease his company was granted in Anantapur district.

The Andhra government’s decision is in sharp contrast to the inaction of the Karnataka government, which, despite having a Lokayukta report indicting Janardhana Reddy and his associates in the illegal mining scam saw the BJP-led government lose stability.

Although the Karnataka government has put in place a high level committee headed by an officer of the rank of additional chief secretary to look into the report’s implementation, there has been no action on it so far since it was submitted to the government on July 27.

Former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, under whom the institution (Lokayukta) investigated into the matter, has been very vocal in expressing his disbelief over the feet-dragging by the committee.

On the other hand, continuing its drive against “illegal mining” after the demise of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, the Andhra Pradesh government under K Rosaiah and now under Kiran Kumar Reddy has been vocal about curbing such activities in the state.

Sources in the Andhra Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) told Deccan Herald that based on prima facie evidence against Janardhana Reddy and his Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), the government was discussing the pros and cons of cancelling the leases granted to the firm in Anantapur district. The matter was brought up in the secretariat on Wednesday.

With the CBI tightening its noose around Janardhana Reddy based on the preliminary findings an investigation initiated by the Andhra Pradesh government after the death of YSR Reddy, there is enough reason for the state government to withdraw the licences issued to the company facing allegations.

“The mining department has recommended we cancel the lease issued to them following the CBI’s findings,” sources said, adding that the AP government would consult its legal department and chart the future course of action. The state government can cancel the lease by invoking the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, after it issues due notices.

However, with the OMC matter in court, the AP government was considering a temporary suspension of mining operations as a first step since the matter if sub judice. “Later, if the Supreme Court finds OMC’s involvement in illegal mining, we may cancel the lease,” sources said. The government would consult the Centre before taking any step.

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