State to refer illegal iron ore export cases to CBI

State to refer illegal iron ore export cases to CBI

The State Cabinet on Thursday decided to hand over the probe into all cases pertaining to illegal iron ore export to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Cabinet also decided to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for recovering the forest tax mining firms had evaded. 

After a four-hour Cabinet meeting, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs T B Jayachandra told presspersons that the Cabinet discussed in detail the  Chief Secretary’s report on the Lokayukta report on illegal mining before taking the decisions.

“After studying the report which has made 24 recommendations, we decided to hand over all the illegal iron ore export cases to the CBI for investigation,” said the minister.

With the CBI already investigating the Belekeri port iron ore export scam, the government believed that it would be better to hand over the cases relating to the rest of the six ports within and outside the State from where several tonnes of iron ore was illegally exported. The other six ports include Mangalore, Kannur, Karwar and Visakhapatnam. The minister said that it will now be seeking the Centre’s nod for handing over the cases to the CBI.

To bring to book those who have caused huge losses to the state exchequer, the Cabinet decided to seek the assistance of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).  It has decided to invoke the Prevention of Money Laundering Act by seeking the support of the ED for recovering the money which has been laundered through the iron ore export.

Jayachandra said that the government specifically wanted to ensure that the money which is being ‘enjoyed’ by those involved in the scam needed to be recovered. The ED, after a recent set of stringent amendments to the said Act, will be in a position to attach properties of those who are a part of the scam.

The Cabinet also agreed to set up SIT for recovering the losses caused to the government by the mining companies by not paying forest taxes and, look into other possible violations in the mining scam. The minister, however, said that it is yet to be decided as to who will head the SIT. The government intends to appoint a Director General of Police-rank official as the head of the proposed SIT.

The government has decided to form a Cabinet sub-committee for better co-ordination and implementing the 24 recommendations made by the Chief Secretary.

BJP MLA held

Former tourism minister and BJP MLA from the Vijayanagar (Hospet) Assembly constituency Anand Singh was on Thursday arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his alleged involvement in illegal export of iron ore from Belekeri Port, reports DHNS. Singh is the fourth MLA to be arrested for illegal export of iron ore after B Nagendra (Kudligi), Satish Sail (Karwar) and H T Suresh Babu (Kampli).

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