69 forest officials slapped with notices

The department had suspended 29 officials who reportedly had direct nexus with incarcerated former minister Janardhana Reddy, and his brothers, and issued showcause notices to 69 others indicted in the report.

Two IFS officers, four State forest officers and four range forest officers are among the suspended.

As per the details furnished in the action taken report to the K Jairaj Committee, the Forest department has detailed that 69 officials, whose names were extracted from former minister Janardhana Reddy’s aide Kharapudi Mahesh’s computer, have been issued with notices. Of the 787 officials named by Mahesh, over 100 officials were found to be forest officials, according to official sources.

The department could identify only 69 names of the 100, which included that of Belgaum Deputy Conservator of Forest G C Hosur and former Koppal DCF Vijay Mohanraj, who is presently posted as chief executive officer, Uttara Kannada.

Hosur, though posted in Belgaum, has been implicated as he was found to be collecting hafta at checkposts on the border of Karnataka-Goa, sources said.

The officials have been given 15 days time to respond to the notices. Of the 29 officials suspended, 15 are foresters, eight are forest guards, one watcher, and one second division surveyor. The two IFS officers include Manoj Kumar Shukla and Muthaiah, while the State service officers are Chikkamagalur DFO P Rajashekaran; and ACFs T V Srinivasan; J Srinivasamurthy; and A K Poovaiah.

The four RFOs suspended are – Sandur RFO Ramamurthy; former Sandur RFO (presently waiting for posting) Mahesh Patil; former Sandur RFO Thippeswamy; and forester Gnyamathi who has been promoted as RFO. The department has also submitted a report to the Jairaj committee on measures to be taken to recover Forest Development Taxes, evict encroachers and prevent illegal mining.

Panel submits report

Additional Chief Secretary, Jairaj, along with heads of various departments briefed Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda in Bangalore on Thursday, regarding the action being taken to implement the mining report. The panel, which was constituted last month, has completed its task of studying the report and indicating to the government the action to be taken to implement the report.

The departments of Forest, Revenue, Police, Transport, Mines and Geology have already submitted their ATRs.

Cancellation of licences 

The Mines and Geology Department has recommended to the State Government to cancel 24 lease licences in Bellary. The recommendation has been made based on the Lokayukta mining report.

The list has been submitted to Chief Secretary S V Ranganath. The lease-holders who are facing serious charges have been included in the list, according to official sources.

The Government will act on the recommendation after issuing notices to the lease-holders and giving them a chance to explain their version.

H R Srinivas, Director, Mines and Geology Department, told Deccan Herald that the names that figure in the list can’t be divulged at this juncture.

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