Andhra mining scam: CBI quizzes lady IAS officer

Hyderabad: CBI, probing alleged illegal mining and irregularities in allotment of mining leases to Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), on Saturday questioned a senior lady IAS officer in connection with the scam after conducting a raid at her house.

A CBI team, led by Superintendent of Police H Venkatesh, quizzed Y Srilakshmi, Commissioner (Health) after a search at her residence in S R Nagar here, officials said.

However, they declined to give details.

The central agency has found alleged irregularities in certain leases given to OMC between 2005 and 2009 when Srilakshmi was the Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Industries Department.

CBI is seeking to gather information on the alleged conspiracy by some government officials involved in granting leases to OMC.

The mining company is accused of changing mining lease boundary markings between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and indulging in "illegal" mining in the Bellary Reserve Forest area spread between Bellary district of Karnataka and Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh.

CBI had registered a case against the company on December 7, 2009, at the request of Andhra Pradesh government, following allegations of illegal mining and irregularities in the allotment of mining leases to OMC in Obulapuram and Malpanagudi villages of Anantapur district in the state.

CBI officials had last month examined a former Director of Mines and Geology (Andhra Pradesh) V D Rajagopal in connection with the case.

On September 5, CBI had arrested former Karnataka Tourism Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy, who owns the mine and OMC Managing Director B Srinivas Reddy in connection with the scam. The duo are now lodged in Chanchalguda Central Prison here and will remain in judicial custody till October 17.