Illegal export of iron ore under Lokayukta ambit

Illegal export of iron ore under Lokayukta ambit

The government has also asked the Lokayukta to investigate all cases of illegal mining in the State till date.

The Lokayukta has already been inquiring into illegal mining for the period from January 1, 2000, to September 9, 2008. The government on Monday, through a notification, extended the period of inquiry up to July 19, 2010, and included illegal extract and export of iron ore as one of the terms of reference.

The move comes in the wake of the unearthing of an illegal export iron scam at Belekeri port and the resulting political fallout. The terms of reference given in the previous notification will also hold good for the fresh order. In addition, the July 19 order mentions that the Lokayukta should look into “illegal mining and export of the ore in excess to the permits granted.”

The H D Kumaraswamy-led JD(S)-BJP combine government in its order on March 12, 2007, had asked the Lokayukta to hold an inquiry into illegal mining for the period from January 1, 2000 to July 22, 2006. The then chief minister Kumaraswamy was facing charges of involving in the Rs 150-crore mining bribery scam.

The Yeddyurappa-led BJP government extended the period of investigation till December 24, 2008. The terms of reference given in the earlier notification did not touch illegal export. It referred the issues concerned to transportation of ore without valid permits, allotment of licences and affairs of the Mysore Minerals Limited. Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde conducted the investigation following the terms of reference and submitted his first report on December 12, 2008.

Reacting to the fresh notification, Justice Hegde said he had almost completed investigation into illegal mining till December 12,  2008. Hegde said he had to take up the investigation for an extended period. However, he added he was hopeful of completing the investigation well within the completion of his tenure on August 31, 2011.

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