HC bail to ex-IAS officer, inspector in mining case

The High Court on Monday granted conditional bail to N Vishwanath, former principal secretary in the department of commerce and industries, and Police Inspector Ramakanth Y Hullar, in connection with the Rs 1,232-crore mining scam involving the Bellary-based Deccan Mining Syndicate (DMS).

Justice N Ananda ordered Vishwanath as well as Hullar to submit a Rs one lakh bond, along with two sureties.

The court also directed the petitioners to not intimidate any witness or tamper with any evidence. They also have to appear regularly at the court proceedings and be available to the investigation officer.

Besides, if they are required for inquiry, they should not leave the country. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating the case, has been granted liberty to move the court in case of any violation by the duo.

The CBI had booked Vishwanath and others for criminal conspiracy, theft and criminal trespass. The government had leased a 50-acre plot to the DMS in 1966. When the leasehold was to be renewed in 1996, the Department of Mines and Geology submitted a report, blacklisting DMS for having stolen iron ore from the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).

The commerce and industries officers were, however, accused of overlooking the adverse report and renewing the lease. Hullar faces the allegation of not taking any action against people and officials responsible for it.

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