Illegal mining by Adani, Jindal group to be probed: Apex court

November 18th, 2011 - 10:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday asked the Central Empowered Committee on environmental matters to look into the allegations of illegal mining against M/s Adani Enterprises and M/s Jindal Steel (JSW) in Karnataka.

The apex court forest bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the court-appointed CEC to look into the allegations after it was told that the former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hagde has given specific findings about their illegal activities including illegal mining.

Appearing for the NGO Samaj Parivartan Samudaya, counsel Prashant Bhushan referred to the Lokayukata’s report that said: “Powerful corporate entities such as M/s Adani Enterprises are involved in the theft of 5.5 lakh tonnes of iron ore from Belekeri port.”

He told the court that the Lokayukta report has documented in detail the regular bribes paid by M/s Adani Enterprises to various officials of the port and the police department.”

Bhushan referred to the conclusion of the Lokayukta’s report which said: “Adani Enterprises has paid the bribes for getting undue favour for illegal exports. Action should be initiated against the company to cancel the lease granted at Belekeri port. The company should be black-listed.”

“Bribes ranging from Rs.22,62,924 (2005-06) to Rs.1,28,37,242 (2007-08) have been paid to various officials who have been identified by their designations and these bribes facilitated a massive export of illicit ore amounting to 11,59,441 MT (tonnes),” Bhushan’s application said quoting Lokayukta’s report.

Similarly, Bhushan said that the three serious illegalities have been recorded against M/s Jindal Steel (JSW) and its front company M/s South West Mining Company (SWMC).

These illegalities include that M/s JSW has been a major recipient of illegally obtained ore supplied by M/s AMC; M/s JSW has caused a loss of Rs.324 crore to the State exchequer by overloading of illegal ore amounting to 12,97,707 MT and M/s JSW has been indicted by the Lokayukta for making illegal payments of Rs.30 crore to the close relatives of the then chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Bhushan’s application said quoting Lokayukata’s report.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Friday gave Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) time till Jan 15, 2012, to complete its investigation into illegal mining activities of mining barons Reddy brothers in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

The CBI is conducting investigations in pursuance to the apex court order of Sep 23, 2011.

By the said order, the apex court had said that “On going through the Report of CEC, this Court prima facie is satisfied that at the relevant time there existed linkages between the alleged illegal mining in Bellary Reserved Forest falling in District Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh and the above mentioned illegalities in Bellary District of Karnataka… For this reason, we want investigations into above alleged illegalities to be carried out by CBI.”

The court Friday also asked the CBI to file charge-sheet against M/s Associated Mining Co. and M/s Deccan Mining Syndicate by Dec 4, 2011, to ensure that the charge-sheet was filed within 90 days stipulated under the law.

The matter will come up for hearing on Jan 20, 2012.

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