Illegal Mining: SC asks CEC to examine JSW, Adani

The SC asked its expert committee to examine the alleged illegalities committed by other major companies involved in mining activities in Bellary.

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2011, 20:14 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked its
expert committee to examine the alleged illegalities committed
by other major companies involved in mining activities in
Bellary district of Karnataka and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh
which have been indicted in the Lokayukta report.

An NGO, Samaj Parivartana Samudaya, has sought the
extention of the CBI probe to cover the two other major
companies of M/s Adani Enterprises and M/s Jindal Steel (JSW)
that have been strongly indicted in the Lokayukta report for
illegal mining of iron and ore.

However, a special forest bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia said it cannot straight away accept the plea of extending the CBI probe on the basis of the Lokayukta report and would ask the apex-court appointed Central Empowered
Committee (CEC) and Attorney General GE Vahanvati to look
into the issue.

"We will ask the CSE and the Attorney General to look
into it," the bench, also comprising justices Aftab Alam and
Swatanter Kumar, said.

"We are equally concerned about the issue but it has to
be done within a proper legal framework. We want to go in a
particular and systematic manner," the bench said while
posting the matter for January 20.

The apex court had on September 23 directed a CBI probe
against two companies -- Associated Mining Co (AMC) and Deccan
Mining Syndicate -- for alleged illegal mining of iron and
ore.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said
the Lokayukta report had made detailed and specific charges of
serious illegalities against Adani Enterprises and JSW.

"The illegalities of these two companies are not only
linked with the persons and matters that are the subject
matter of current CBI investigations but also involve top
public servants and public representatives," he said.

The NGO referred to the Lokayukta report to allege that
powerful corporate entities such as Adani Enterprises are
involved in the "theft" of 5.5 lakhs tons of iron ore from
Belikere port.

It said the Lokayukta report has documented in detail
the bribes paid regularly by Adani Enterprises to various
officials of the Port and the Police Department.

The NGO charged serious illegalities have been detailed
against JSW and its front company South West Mining Company
(SWMC).

It also alleged JSW has been indicted by the Lokayukta
for making illegal payments of Rs 30 crores to close relatives
of the then Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa.

The NGO has also sought a direction for Karnataka and
Andhra Pradesh to demarcate the inter-state boundary in a
time-bound manner as the report categorically recommended that
all mining operations, including transportation of already
mined material, should remain suspended till the inter-state
boundary between the two states is formally determined and
physically laid on the ground.

The NGO also sought suspension of six mining leases of
Bellary Reserve Forest in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh
as was recommended in the report of the CEC January 7, 2011.

The AMC, against whom a CBI probe was ordered, is owned
by BJP leader and former Karnataka Tourism Minister Gali
Janardhana Reddy and his wife while DMS was owned by another
mining baron SM Jain. Reddy is in jail.

Both the companies, according to the report of the apex
court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), were
involved in illegal mining in the lease area of 10.12 hectares
at Jaisingapur village and there were irregularities in
renewal of lease.

PTI