Former Tourism minister and Vijayanagar (Hospet) Assembly constituency BJP MLA Anand Singh was on Thursday arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths in connection with the alleged illegalities in the export of iron ore from Belekeri port.
The 27-day-long drama over Singh’s possible arrest ended with the CBI sleuths arresting him as soon as he landed at the Bengaluru International Airport at 8.45 am. Singh is the fourth MLA to be arrested in connection with the illegal export of iron ore. The three other MLAs who have already been arrested are B Nagendra (Kudligi), Satish Sail (Karwar) and H T Suresh Babu (Kampli). Alerted by the Intelligence wing and Immigration Bureau staff the CBI sleuths arrested Singh soon after his arrival from Singapore.
The MLA was directly taken to Bowring Hospital for a medical examination. Later, he was brought to the CBI office at Ganganagar at 3 pm and was produced before the court which remanded him in the CBI custody till October 26.The CBI, which is probing the illegal export of iron ore case, had served a notice on Singh, directing him to appear for an inquiry on September 21. He was in constant touch with the CBI till September 18, but left for Singapore on September 20.
He had applied for anticipatory bail from Singapore before the court, claiming that he had come to Singapore for treatment. The CBI had contended that Singh fled to Singapore to evade the inquiry.
Special court judge Justice V Shreeshanda rejected Singh’s bail plea on September 27 and the CBI obtained a non-bailable warrant to arrest him on October 11. Singh has moved the court seeking a bail which will come up for hearing on October 24.
Deputy Conservator of Forests R Gokul had seized about 3.5 million tonnes of iron ore and it was impounded at Belekeri port. The High Court had denied permission to export the ore which was mined illegally in Bellary region, paying a pittance to the government as royalty. However, in voilation of the HC order, the ore was exported later.
Former Tourism minister G Janardhana Reddy, his Obulapuram Mining Company, a host of officials and several others are accused in the case. The CBI registered a case on September 13, 2012 under IPC Sections 120-B, 420, 379, 411, 447, under PC Act-1988 Sections 13 (2), 13 (1) (d), under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 Sections 21 (r/w 4 (1), 4 (1)(A) and under Karnataka Forest Act, 1963 Sections 23 and 24, on the directions of the Supreme Court of India in connection with a writ petition (Civil) 562 of 2009, seeking probe into illegalities committed by various persons in the iron ore export case.
Singh, the proprietor of Hospet (Karnataka)-based private minerals company and partner of another Hospet-based private minerals company, allegedly permitted illegal excavation of iron ore from their plot to the tune of Rs 131 metric tonnes and sold it to a firm who, in turn, had sold the same to other Hospet-based firm without permits, which intended to export the ore from Belekeri port.