Panel to seek more powers for SIT on illegal mining

Panel to seek more powers for SIT on illegal mining

It proposes amendment to law so that spl team can recover losses

Panel to seek more powers for SIT on illegal mining

The Cabinet sub-committee which is monitoring action to be taken on the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, has decided to propose an amendment to the law to accord more powers to Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The sub-committee headed by Minister for Rural Development H K Patil has been contemplating ways to recover the loss caused by illegal mining to the State exchequer.     
The Lokayukta report submitted in 2011 had stated that the mining scam in the State had caused huge loss to the exchequer to the tune of Rs 16,058 crore in just four years. The report had named 787 officials and 100 companies for involvement in illegal mining, between 2006 and July 2010.

“Though cases being investigated by the SIT are at the preliminary stage, we are considering strengthening the team in order to recover the losses caused to the State. In the cases investigated by the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has taken up the attachment of property. Since SIT is also probing several cases which are serious economic offences, we are proposing amendments so that recovery can also be carried out by the SIT,” a member of the sub-committee said.

The SIT has so far registered 39 FIRs in various cases of illegal mining and export of iron ore. The special team has registered 31 FIRs based on the Supreme Court direction and registered eight FIRs in the instances of illegal mining reported in the Lokayukta report part-1.

A senior official said that since amendments proposed come under the concurrent subject, the State can forward the proposal to the Centre or President.

“During the meetings of the sub-committee, it was noted that some departments are holding departmental enquiries against officials named in the Lokayukta report. One of the major agendas before the committee is to ensure that the loss is recovered. We will take a decision in the next Assembly session to accord more powers to SIT in this regard,” the member said.

Role of Lokayukta police
Supreme Court advocate K V Dhananjay said that the Lokayukta police can seek for property attachment without any amendment to the law.

“All this while, the ED would take the copy of the charge sheet and exercise the powers under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. In my view, using the provisions under Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, the Lokayukta police can seek for attachment of property if act of corruption is involved in the acquisition of the property. Pressing for an amendment under the concurrent subject may take a long time,” he said.