Vested interests muzzling CBI in illegal mining cases, activists claim

Vested interests muzzling CBI in illegal mining cases, activists claim

'Former director dismissed plan to appeal against bail for Reddy'

Vested interests muzzling CBI in illegal mining cases, activists claim
 Petitioners before the Supreme Court in the illegal mining cases, S R Hiremath and Prof Vishnu Kamat, on Wednesday said that a conglomeration of forces in the State and at the Centre have tied the hands of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the illegal mining probe.

They said former CBI director Ranjit Sinha had dismissed CBI Bengaluru’s proposal to file appeals against bail granted to mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy.

In one of the major charges against the CBI, the petitioners said that the premier probe agency was not making any efforts to get the stay vacated on the investigation into the other mining companies, owned by Reddy in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

The probe was stayed due to inter-state boundary issue, which is still unresolved as per the recent submission by the Survey of India before the Supreme Court. The CBI has so far investigated only Obulapuram Mining Company (3) at Antara Gangamma Konda.

“There is a cluster of five mines in Anantapur district. Of this, three mines are owned by Reddy namely OMC 1, OMC 2 and Anantapur Mining Corporation. The sixth mine is 3 km away, which is called Antara Gangamma Konda. Though we sought a probe into these three mines, CBI never made any attempts to vacate the stay,” he said.

Hiremath said that when the CBI special court granted bail to Reddy in the first case, the CBI Bengaluru had proposed to challenge the bail. However, for almost 85 days, the then CBI director Ranjit Sinha remained silent and finally directed not to file an appeal. Kamat said that vital posts in the CBI Southern Region and in Bengaluru were never filled even years after the officers were reverted back to their respective cadres as part of a larger conspiracy.            

“V V Lakshminarayana was the Joint Director of the CBI’s Southern Region in Hyderabad. He was reverted back to his state cadre - Maharashtra - in 2013. Similarly, DIG R Hitendra completed his term and was transferred to Mangaluru.

Both these posts remained vacant and under these circumstances, the CBI Bengaluru had to send the proposals seeking permission to appeal against Reddy's bail directly to the headquarters in Delhi. No respectable investigating officer will fail to challenge the bail application when the trial is yet to take place. The case involves huge amount of political and money power. They (CBI) have failed to take any action,” Prof Kamat said.

Hiremath and Kamat said that Ranjit Sinha misused his position as the agency's director and appointed Reddy's close associate and counsel K Raghavacharyulu as the special counsel of CBI. 

“When a person who has been a counsel for an accused can conspire with the chief of the investigating agency and he becomes standing counsel for the agency, what prevents him from colluding with the accused in other cases which CBI is investigating.

This counsel has visited Ranjit Sinha’s residence 45 times between September 2013 and August 2014. This counsel was under the scanner of Income Tax Department and CBI for his proximity with Reddy,” Hiremath said. GJR may be released today

Janardhana Reddy is expected to be released from the Bangalore Central Prisons at Parappana Agrahara by Thursday evening. Senior Counsel C H Hanumantharaya said that though copy of the bail order was obtained on Wednesday, the same could not be produced before the CBI special court in Hyderabad before the court hours.

“The release order has to be obtained at the CBI special court in Hyderabad after executing the surety. The copy of the release order will have to be taken to the Chanchalaguda prison and then be taken to CBI court in Bengaluru.

In the meanwhile, we still have to execute the surety as part of the requirement in one of the bail orders before the CBI special court in Bengaluru. If the release order from Hyderabad and the execution of surety in Bengaluru synchronises, he may be released from the prison in the evening,'' he said.

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