Union Industry minister's brother charge-sheeted in Belekeri case

Union Industry minister's brother charge-sheeted in Belekeri case

Union Industry minister's brother charge-sheeted in Belekeri case

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Lokayukta has filed first three charge sheets in the case pertaining to illegal mining, transportation, export and sale of iron ore in the State. One of the charge sheets is against G M Lingaraju, brother of Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises G M Siddeshwara.

The SIT, in the last three weeks, has filed final reports in 14 cases, out of 66 FIRs registered so far since August 2014. The apex court had directed the State government to conduct investigation based on the preliminary enquiry report submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The SIT has filed the charge sheet in three cases while the final reports in the remaining 11 cases stated that the charges had not been proved.

The SIT charge sheet states that GEM Laboratories Pvt Ltd, of which Lingaraju is the Managing Director, had illegally exported and sold 12,500 MT of iron ore from Belekeri port near Karwar. Sources said that GEM Laboratories had either exported or sold 1.25 lakh MT of iron ore between January 1, 2009 and May 30, 2010. The investigation proved that out of this, the company had exported or sold 12,572 MT of iron ore without any permit. This has caused a loss of Rs 2.11 crore to the state exchequer. The SIT has pressed charges of misappropriation, cheating under IPC and other relevant sections under Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. The SIT has also chargesheeted manager of GEM Laboratories, by name Sharat Patel.

The second charge sheet is pertaining to the illegal export of ore by Zenith Transport Company. Sources said that the company has either exported or sold 53,944 MT of iron ore between 2009 and 2010, of which 3,952 MT was found to be illegal. The illegal sale or export of iron ore has caused a loss of Rs 79 lakh to the state exchequer. The charges have been pressed against Managing Partner Syed Ahmed.

The third charge sheet pertains to the export of 1,921 MT of illegal iron ore from Belekeri port during 2009-2010 by Sameera Trading Company. The company had traded 61,447 MT of iron ore during the period, of which 1,921 MT was found to be without any permit. Sources said the loss to the exchequer is still being calculated and a supplementary charge sheet will be filed. The charges have been pressed against Sameera Trading Company's partners Abdul Wahab and Sajjad Wahab.

Plea disposed of

Meanwhile, the High Court on Wednesday disposed of a petition filed by Shri Lal Mahal Limited directing the CBI court to consider the application filed by the managing director of the company seeking speedly trial in Belekeri case.

Valecha is the fourth accused in the mining scam and he had approached the High Court stating the CBI was delaying the trial.

He had stated that the CBI court had not considered his application in this regard. The CBI, however, contended that there was no delay in conducting the trial. It had stated that the 54 accused in the mining scam were filing several applications before the courts seeking various directions. Justice Anand Byrareddy disposed of the matter directing the CBI to consider the application of Valecha.

Special court delayed

The SIT has so far registered 66 FIRs, both based on the Lokayukta report part-2 and as per the Supreme Court direction on export of illegal iron ore. The Lokayukta office has made several reminders to the State government on setting up of a special court.    

“The special court should be set up not only to try the cases in which the SIT has filed charge sheets, but also as per the amended MMDR Act. In spite of repeated reminders to the State government and also to the Cabinet sub-committee, which is looking into the implementation of Lokayukta report, no steps have been taken to constitute the special court for mining cases,” an official said.

The amended MMDR Act Section 30 (B) says, “The State government, for the purposes of providing speedy trial of offences, may constitute as many special courts as may be necessary.” The sub-section also says that the State government shall constitute a special court consisting of a judge appointed by it with the concurrence of the High Court.

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