2 more ports may come under CBI scanner

The State Cabinet on Wednesday decided to recommend to the Centre to expand the scope of the probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into illegal ore exports, by including the ports of Goa and Belekeri. This would take the total number of ports under the investigative agency’s scanner to nine.

Law Minister T B Jayachandra said it was decided to add Belekeri to the list of ports to be investigated, so as to look into all aspects of illegal ore exports. At present, the CBI, on the directions of the Supreme Court, is investigating only those cases which included over and above 50,000 metric tonnes of illegal exports, official sources said.

 At its previous meeting, the Cabinet had recommended that seven ports be brought under the CBI scanner. The Cabinet also decided to hand over a number of illegal mining cases to the Lokayukta police from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). 

The cases pertaining to the alleged ring leaders in the ‘risk business’ of running the illegal mining racket, including Swastik Nagaraj and Kharadapudi Mahesh, will be handed over to the Lokayukta police.

The other cases which will be handled by the Lokayukta police include the irregularities committed by officials of the State-owned Mysore Minerals Limited, the illegal accounts of Bhaktha Markandeshwari Mines, involvement of Eagle Traders in export of illegal ore, besides the activities of ILC Industries, Janthakal Mining Company, Venkateshwara Mining Company, B R Yogindranath Singh mines and Hanuman mines and minerals, Jayachandra said.

As per the previous decision of the Cabinet, investigations into offences being handled by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were progressing fast.

 “The ED officials came last week to meet the chief secretary to discuss the issue. Things are now moving fast with investigations on that front,” said Jayachandra. The Cabinet decided to defer discussions on the government’s next step of action regarding ‘C’ category mines.

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