SC tightens noose around Reddy

CBI will look at looting of iron ore by AMC

The CBI is likely to lodge cases next week to unearth the massive loot of iron ore resources in Karnataka, after the Supreme Court gave it a free hand to inquire export of illegal iron ore from Belekeri port in Uttar Kannada district.

The CBI is waiting for the official copy of the court order before launching the investigation some time next week, sources in the agency told Deccan Herald.  
The CBI is likely to register cases against four major companies for exporting five lakh and more tonnes each of iron ore and another FIR to probe disappearance of seized natural resource from the Belekeri port, the sources added. For another 18 companies, which have been facing charges of exporting iron ore more than one lakh and less than five lakh tonne each, the CBI will conduct preliminary inquiry without registering an FIR.

During the course of preliminary inquiry, the probing agency will file FIRs only if it finds any evidence against the firms. As for the remaining 51 companies, the Karnataka Government have been directed to take up the probe.

In its order, the apex court observed that over 50 lakh tonne of ore was illegally exported by 73 firms from January 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010.

During the course of probe, the CBI is likely to examine the role of the jailed mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy and members of his family as his company, Associated Mining Company (AMC), was allegedly the main source of illegally extracted ore which was exported.

The agency is likely to grill again Reddy and his associates, as most of the firms facing charges of illegal ore export sourced it from AMC which reportedly engaged in illegal mining in Bellary, Chitradurga, Tumkur and Bagalkot districts.

Several officers from the Karnataka Government departments of mines and geology, transport, police, revenue and forests will also come under the scanner for either aiding or being mute spectators to plunder.

Though the CID of Karnataka Government probed the illegal export of ore, it failed to arrest the officials for their connivance with private firms, the sources said.

However, in the original Karnataka mining scam, the central agency has already filed charge sheet after probing two companies-AMC and Deccan Mining Syndicate, both owned by Reddy. The agency was also probing alleged quid pro quo by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa for favouring mining companies.

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