Bangalore: The Central Bureau of Investigation arrested Kampli MLA Suresh Babu here on Thursday in connection with the illegal export of 3.5 million tons of iron ore worth Rs250 crore that was confiscated from Belekeri port near Karwar.
Suresh Babu, a close aide of jailed mining baron G Janardhana Reddy and a relative of BSR Congress president B Sriramulu, was taken into custody from a friend’s office in Bangalore. CBI sources said Babu had ignored two notices seeking his presence in the CBI court.
The CBI chargesheet states that 3.5 million tons of confiscated iron ore that was impounded at Belekeri port, was exported illegally. The ore had been seized by deputy conservator of forests R Gokul and the high court refused to permit it to be exported. The ore from the Bellary region was alleged to have been illegally mined, paying a pittance to the government as royalty. Former minister Gali Janardhana Reddy and his Obulapuram Mining Company, several officials and others are the accused in the case. Babu is facing charges that he was instrumental in exporting the ore under instructions from Reddy.
Investigators of CBI probing the case had asked Suresh Babu to provide them documents relating to the illegal export of iron ore during the BJP rule in the state, which they came to know were in his possession.
Thursday’s arrest by the CBI was second for the MLA. Earlier, the central agency had arrested him in connection with an attempt to bribe a judge of the CBI court in Hyderabad to secure the release of Janardhana Reddy on bail.
Sources said that the CBI is likely to arrest two other MLAs, Satish Sail (Karwar) and B Nagendra (Kudligi). Former minister and currently MLA, Anand Singh (Vijayanagara) is also on the radar of CBI.
Sail, who owns Mallikarjun Shipping company in Karwar is suspected to have colluded with Janardhana Reddy in exporting the seized iron ore.
Nagendra is facing charges of facilitating the export of the seized iron ore and creating fake permits. Anand Singh has been charged with providing space in his stockyard for dumping the seized iron ore. He also faces charges of involving in illegal mining.
Sail said he was ready to cooperate with the CBI.
Sources said Suresh Babu would be produced before the court on Friday and CBI would seek his custody to question him regarding the documents relating to the export of illegal iron ore.