FM assures due action against Obulapuram Mining Company

"Due action will be taken," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in the Rajya Sabha replying to a supplementary as to what action the government proposes against the company for alleged violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act.

He said all FEMA violations are offences under customs law and customs authorities will look into it. When D Raja (CPI) sought a CBI probe into the allegation of illegal mining against Obulapuram Mining Company, the minister said, CBI does not come under Finance Ministry. A specific request for this must come from the state.

He said the Centre has not given any tax exemption exclusively to the Obulapuram Mining Company and Income Tax authority will look into the matter if there is any case of evasion of taxes.

Mukherjee said, "It is their (Income Tax authorities) routine job. They do not have to seek permission from the government (to take action)."  He also informed that the government has collected from the company whatever tax was due.

Raja also raised the ethical issue of continuance of the Reddy brothers as ministers in Karnataka government, but the Finance Minister suggested, "If the code of conduct is violated, it can be brought to the notice of the Governor.

"The proper place to agitate is not Parliament, but the state assembly." Mukherjee, in an indirect reference to the Left Parties' recent objection to the Centre's move of sending a team to West Bengal, said, "It should also be kept in mind that when we send a police team to any state, it accuses us of intervening."

To the demand for a probe into illegal mining by the company, he said Department of Mines will look into it if there is any violation. But he clarified that the Obulapuram Mining Company has taken the environment clearance for the mining activities.

Quoting state government data, he said Andhra Pradesh government has not given any concession in respect of the Obulapuram Mining Company. But in a steel plant project by that company, several concessions have been given to it by the state government, he added.

The concessions include 25 per cent concession on VAT for a five-year period, reimbursement of power charges at 75 paise per unit also for a period of a five years, and Rs one crore allocation for development of infrastructure near the plant site, Mukherjee added.

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