Gali’s men reported to have threatened any official who dared to enter his mining empire of dire consequences. This is yet another disclosure by an IFS officer about the illegal mining activities of the nefarious mining baron of Bellary who for nearly a decade took the authorities of Karnataka and AP for a ride.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is recording the statements of the vigilance and other officials who went to Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) for inspections, but were prevented by armed men on the site.
The private army of Gali was so well networked with patrol cars, jeeps and VHF radio and controlled the entire area.
An IFS officer from the Union government, who visited the Antargangamma area to verify reports of OMC’s encroachment into other lands, was prevented by gun-totting thugs from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. Equipped with country-made pistols, they were manning the yet-to-be leased out mines.
“I reported the matter to the then DFO Kallol Biswas, but he did not bother to take action,” the officer said. There were reports that former Karnataka minister B Sriramulu also used his clout to stop any official interference in the mining operations in Bellary zone and protected the interests of Gali. “It’s very unusual for the mining company to fabricate cases against a government official on Central government duty,” rued R Srinivasa Rao, a Forest department officer.
The OMC has filed a case against him at the Kalyanadurgam police station alleging that the officer along with his team attacked the OMC staff. AP officers, DFO Kallol Biswas and range officer Srinivasa Reddy used their power to stop the Karnataka officer from discharging his duty on behalf of the Central government.
It took Karnataka cadre officer Srinivasa Rao to knock at the doors of AP High Court to get a stay on the case slapped by the AP officers.
With active support of the officials in the Y S R Reddy-led AP government, Gali secured lease of iron mines of 68.5 hectares of area in Tadipatri of Anantapur district by sidetracking another bidder, SJK Mines.
SJK has proposed to build a 30 lakh tonne per annum capacity steel plant in the backward Tadipatri area at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore.
The CBI is looking into the events that led to the cancellation of lease to SJK and granting lease mines in Siddapuram and Malapanagudi to OMC on June 18, 2007. The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has come forward to build steel plant in Kadapa district in the land allocated for Gali’s nonstarter project—Brahamni Steels.
The AP government entered into an pact with Gali’s firm in May 2007 for building a steel plant and allocated 14,015 acres of land for the plant, 68 hectares of land for mining iron ore and 2TMCs of water from Gandikota reservoir. The plant, for which foundation stone was laid on June 10, 2007, was supposed to be ready by December 2009.