SIT to probe illegal mining

The State government has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) based on the recommendations of a high-level committee formed to give suggestions on implementing the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

The committee, headed by the additional chief secretary, had submitted its final report on October 24, 2011, and had recommended the formation of the SIT comprising top officials of the departments of forest, mines and geology, revenue, home and commercial taxes. Accordingly, the SIT was formed on January 9, 2012 and it has been asked to conduct a comprehensive probe in three months and submit a report.

The SIT is headed by senior forest department officer, Deepak Sharma. IPS officer Shivakumar (IGP - fire services); Mines and Geology department Director H R Srinivas; Bellary Deputy Commissioner A A Biswas; Commercial Taxes department Additional Commissioner, J Ramalingegowda; Transport department Joint Director (administration), Richard V D’Souza are  members of the SIT. Additional director of the Mines and Geology department, D R Veeranna, will be the convenor of the SIT.

Illegal mining and extraction of ore, transportation of ore for local consumption and export, creating benami organisations for the purpose of saving on taxes and investing money to avoid taxes are among the aspects that the SIT will have to probe and submit a report on, by April 9.

The SIT is collecting details from the departments concerned with regard to illegal mining in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts on the lines of the investigation conducted by then Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde and his team. The probe is going on in a confidential manner.

Meanwhile, the CBI probe in Bellary district into the illegal mining allegedly undertaken by Associated Mining Company, owned by former minister G Janardhana Reddy, and other mining companies has been intensified.

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