CBI to take over mining probe

Agency set for politically sensitive case

The notification for a Central investigation into alleged illegal mining in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh has been issued in the first week of December, sources in the government told Deccan Herald.

The CBI will soon take over the case from the Andhra Pradesh police. Preliminary fact files are being prepared and team readied. A CBI team in Hyderabad would formally relieve the Hyderabad police of the case “a little later”, sources said.

Aware of the political sensitivity of the case the CBI is currently bringing all the facts on its table concerning controversial mining in Andhra Pradesh and adjoining borders, they said. Asked whether the investigating agency would need permission of Karnataka government for questioning the Reddy brothers, sources said “It is not needed. Any body can be questioned by the agency. Permission is needed at prosecution stage”, they clarified.

Irregularities

The Andhra Pradesh government on November 17 ordered CBI probe into the alleged irregularities by the Obulapuram Mining Corporation (OMC) owned by Karnataka Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy and his family.

The probe was ordered following recommendation of a three-member committee constituted by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah, to probe allegations by the opposition about illegal activities of the Reddy brothers.

The Supreme Court’s Central Empowered Committee (CEC) on November 20 also recommended that all activities of OMC be stopped immediately till such time the demarcation of mining lease boundaries are carried out. OMC is owned by Karnataka Tourism Minister Janardhana Reddy.

Watchdog

The CEC is an extended arm of the Supreme Court and is a watchdog against violation of forest-related laws and issues. It submitted its report to court on Thursday on the apex court’s orders to inquire into issues raised by a writ petition filed by Tapal Ganesh of Bellary against OMC over illegal mining in violation of the Forest Conservation Act.

A task force is also being set up with officials drawn from the Indian Bureau of Mines and the forest department.

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