Term of SIT on illegal mining cases extended by 1 yr

The Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval for extending the term of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted to investigate illegal mining cases by one year. The SIT's term had ended on January 24.

The SIT is investigating 76 cases that were transferred to it after Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a closure report on illegal export of iron ore from four ports - Karwar and New Mangalore ports in Karnataka and Panaji and Marmagao ports in Goa, stating that there was no prima facie evidence of any irregularities.

Briefing the media, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said, of the 76 cases, 28 were chargesheeted, while trial in 20 cases had been stayed. He said the trial court had closed one case till date, while trials were going on in seven cases.

The SIT had filed a 'B' report in 19 cases for lack of evidence. While 26 cases were under investigation, 19 cases were under "active" investigation, he said.

According to officials, between April 2006 and December 2010, 2,04,37,786 metric tonnes of iron ore was exported from the Mangaluru port. This included exports by 76 companies/individuals. Ore was dispatched from blocks in Tumakuru, Ballari, Hospet and Chitradurga.

Several leaders from three parties - BJP, Congress and JD(S) - were reportedly involved in the illegal export of iron ore from these ports.

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