Illegal ore export: Cabinet to decide on SIT probe

Illegal ore export: Cabinet to decide on SIT probe

The state Cabinet will soon take a decision on the possibility of a special investigation team (SIT) conducting a probe into illegal iron ore exports worth nearly Rs 5,000 crore from Mangaluru and Karwar ports, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) H K Patil said on Friday.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has informed the state government that it will not be able to carry out the further probe in these cases. "It is disappointing and shocking that the CBI, after more than four years, has decided to drop the cases at the preliminary investigation stage," Patil, who heads a Cabinet sub-committee on iron ore mining, told reporters.

According to Patil, the CBI has cited several technical grounds on why it cannot proceed with registering cases. "The Cabinet sub-committee will now discuss how the probe can continue. One option is to consider probe by our own special investigation. A final call will be taken in the next Cabinet meeting," Patil said.

The CBI informed its "helplessness" in continuing with the probe into illegal iron ore exports from Mangaluru and Karwar ports on September 20.

As many as 54 companies were involved in exporting 79 lakh MT of iron ore from Mangaluru, whereas 76 companies were involved in exporting 2.85 crore MT from Karwar port. "It's quite easily worth ₹5,000 crore. Maybe even more," Patil said.

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