State agency may probe smaller firms in Belekeri scam

State agency may probe smaller firms in Belekeri scam


A State agency may investigate the smaller companies allegedly involved in the illegal export of iron ore from the Belekeri port near Karwar while the bigger ones would be probed by the CBI.

According to sources in the Mines and Geology department, the CBI has communicated to the State government about the sharing of the investigation in the multi-crore ore export scam.

According to the sources, while the CBI might handle big companies, which have illegally exported over 50,000 tonnes of iron ore, the smaller ones, mainly those accused of transportation and providing other auxiliary services, may be probed by an agency of the State government’s choice.

Investigating agency

The State government can entrust the probe to either the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or the Lokayukta, if the CBI makes a formal request to it to share the investigations, the sources said.

When contacted, a top CBI official said a final decision on who-should-probe-what will be taken only after studying the recent Supreme Court order on the investigations into companies involved in the illegal iron ore export. Though there has been initial communication between the CBI and the State government, the CBI has not sent any request to the State government to handle the investigations.

“We are waiting for the copy of the apex court order,” said a CBI spokesperson.
Tushar Girinath, secretary, Mines and Geology department, too, said the Supreme Court order will be studied in detail before arriving at a decision.

The Mines and Geology department in the past few days has sent to the CBI all the relevant files relating to 26 companies allegedly involved in the scam.

Files pertaining to 23 firms were sent following a request by the Central investigating agency after the Supreme Court order. In all, 83 companies have been named in the Belekeri iron ore export case.

Firms blacklisted

The Mines and Geology department has been working ‘overtime’ since the past few days to identify the suspects in the illegal mining cases, as per the U V Singh and Lokayukta reports. It is said the government has already initiated action by ‘blacklisting’ six companies involved in the illegal mining cases and, is also issuing notices to other companies allegedly involved in the scam.

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