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Nab illegal mining ‘big fish': SC

New Delhi: In fresh trouble for the Reddy brothers, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to go after the ”responsible persons” behind illegal extraction of iron ore in the Bellary region of Karnataka, instead of some employees of errant mining companies.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia directed Attorney General G E Vahanvati to disclose the names of the owners of the companies of Associated Mining Company and Deccan Mining Syndicate and thoroughly investigate their role in illegal mining.

The Bench, also comprising Justices Aftab Alam and Swatanter Kumar, was unhappy with the status report filed by the Attorney General to the court. The court directed the CBI to widen its inquiry into the role of responsible persons in the companies, and not merely that of some low-level employees. Vahanvati, on his part, sought three weeks’ time for filing a fresh, comprehensive status report, which was allowed by the court.

On September 23, the apex court had favoured CBI probe into the alleged “linkages” between illegal mining activities in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka being resorted to by the two companies including the one owned by arrested former Karnataka Minister G Janardhana Reddy in the Bellary region.

The court had sought a status report of the CBI’s ongoing probe with regard to the extraction of iron ores by Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) also owned by the Reddys in Andhra Pradesh.

The Court’s order came on the Central Empowered Committee’s latest recommendations submitted on September 21 seeking direction for extension of the CBI probe into alleged “illegalities” in extraction of the iron ore in mining leases in the Bellary region.
The CBI has already taken into custody Janardhana Reddy and his brother-in-law Srinivas Reddy, who is also the managing director of OMC, and conducted several raids on their residences and lockers and recovered huge quantities of cash, gold and jewelleries.

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