Bangalore: Congress government in Karnataka on Thursday decided to hand over probe into the mega mining scam in the state to a special investigation team, CBI and Enforcement Directorate and also establish a special court to try such cases.
The Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, gave the green signal for investigation by CBI into illegal export of iron ore from seven ports in Karnataka and neighbouring states.
Noting that the reports on illegal mining by the then Lokayukta Justice (Retd) N Santosh Hegde had raised many issues pertaining to the scam, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said in a media briefing that an SIT would be constituted.
The issues to be probed include evasion of royalty to the Government and forest development tax.
To investigate cases relating to investment made from the wealth of illegal mining, he said the Cabinet decided to hand over such cases to the ED and facilitation of invoking of the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act, a central legislation.
Jayachandra also said a special court would be established to try cases on illegal mining.
Hegde`s final report submitted in July 2011 estimated the loss of revenue to the State exchequer due to illegal mining in the State between 2006 and 2010 at more than Rs 16,000 crore. The report had also named 797 officials.
Following his indictment in the report, the then Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had to quit complying with the direction of the BJP`s central leadership.
The Congress had launched a vigorous campaign against illegal mining when it was in opposition during the previous BJP rule, and promised to crack down on the lobby and recovering the lost money.
"It`s the bold decision of the Government.... (Cabinet decision on the probe)", Jayachandra said.