SC dismisses plea for CBI probe into illegal mining

In his plea, Bhupesh Baghel claimed that Anil Lunia was granted mining licence for 18.27 hectare in 2002 in violation of Forest Conservation Act.

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea by Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel to direct a CBI probe into illegal mining of iron ore by Anil Lunia, an industrialist, in north Bastar Kanker.

The plea claimed involvement of state officials in granting permission for non-forest activities over there. 

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta noted that the state government has already blacklisted Lunia, stopped mining activities in forest areas and also initiated disciplinary proceedings against S K Pandey, then assistant mining officer and other officials.

“The state government itself was alive to these violations and has taken necessary steps in the matter. The state has taken action not only to stop mining but also to initiate proceedings against the erring officials. All mining activities in the forest areas have been stopped long time back,” the bench noted, adding it was not necessary to order a CBI probe.

The court also noted that steps have been taken to recover the entire sale proceeds of the iron ore that was mined and transported by Lunia.

In his plea, Baghel claimed Lunia was granted mining licence for 18.27 hectare in 2002 in violation of Forest Conservation Act.

He sought action against officials for allowing non-forest activities, including cutting of huge number of trees, in contravention of law.

The court-appointed Central Empowered Committee, which examined the matter, concluded that iron ore have been extracted and transported in blatant violation of the approved mining plan and the lease was executed in violation of the statutory requirements.

It recommended for recovery of entire sale proceeds.

Accepting the CEC's report, the bench said it was clear from the records that the confiscated iron ore has been mined from the adjoining forest land.

“The authorities concerned are free to auction the confiscated iron ore in accordance with law,” the bench said.

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SC dismisses plea for CBI probe into illegal mining

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