IAS officer to turn approver in OMC case

Srilakshmi was secretary of AP industries dept during 2004-10

Srilakshmi was secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Industries Department during the 2004-10 period when the alleged irregularities in granting lease and permits to the OMC surfaced. Another IAS officer, Rajagopal, who was then mines director and vice-chairman and managing director (in-charge) of AP Mineral Development Corporation, is already in CBI custody.

Srilakshmi, till last week the family welfare commssioner, is the fourth accused in the case and was grilled by the CBI on Saturday, the second time in a week. The charges against her is stretching rules to grant licence to OMC in return for kickbacks. CBI sources said Srilakshmi offered to turn approver during her first encounter with Jt Director Lakshminarayana on Thursday.

The CBI, which is expected to file a chargesheet on December 4, has so far arrested three persons, including former Karnataka minister Janardhana Reddy, his brother-in-law and company’s Managing Director B V Srinivas Reddy, who are under judicial custody, and Rajagopal.

The agency is ascertaining the version of Sasikumar, a small-time miner, who has confirmed the role of Rajagopal and Srilakshmi in issuing leases to Janardhana Reddy.
Sasikumar, during interrogation on Saturday and Sunday, told the CBI that both officers intentionally trashed his application for lease for mining the area at Malapanagudi. His request had not been forwarded to the Centre. The duo allegedly kept Sasikumar’s application dated May 11, 2005, in cold storage while Gali’s application was sent for approval in 2006. “I received a call from Srilakshmi’s office. When I went there she asked me crores of money. She said she has to complete certain formalities and is answerable to some political leaders. Though I met Rajagopal, who was the MD for Mining department, for help, he repeated the same,” Sasikumar told the media.

The CBI also questioned Tea Board chairperson M G V Kumar Bhanu, who was the special secretary in Y S Rajashekara Reddy’s office, for more than six hours on Sunday and was asked to return for yet another round of grillng later.

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