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A team of officials from Lokayukta, headed by U.V. Singh, Chief Conservator of Forests, and Pranav Mohanty, Deputy Inspector-General, on Wednesday raided the office of the Deputy Director of Mines and Geology (DDMG) in Hospet and a couple of mines stockyards following complaints of illegal transportation of iron ore.

Wednesday's raid in Hospet was said to be a follow up of the raids conducted by the Lokayukta officials in Belikeri port in Uttara Kannada district, where they found that thousands of tonnes of iron ore and manganese were being transported illegally from Bellary and other districts. The team, that had seized some documents at the ports, was tracking the source of the originating points of illegal transportation of ore.

Around 35 members, divided into four teams, conducted the search operations with the help of police from Koppal district since 11a.m. onwards. Enquiries revealed that the local police, including the Superintendent of Police and Lokayukta SP, were not informed about the raids on Wednesday.

Mr. Singh told presspersons that the team visited five mines and their stock yards in Kariganur and Papinayakanahalli villages of Hospet taluk, verified the documents pertaining to the stock and also the quantum of ore transported. In addition, hard discs and personal computers and some documents were also seized. According to him, the raids/searches were likely to continue during the next couple of days. Another team was busy verifying the records at the office of the DDMG and the outcome of the search was awaited.

Seized

Following the raid in February, Karwar Deputy Conservator of Forest R. Gokul seized iron ore worth Rs. 200 crore at Belekere port in March that did not have proper documents.

“This made us to look for the places from where iron ore is being sent. We suspected collusion of officials and the transporters as these documents have not been checked all along the route from Bellary to Karwar,” Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde told The Hindu on Wednesday.

The Lokayukta team identified some of the places to be searched and sought the help of the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Ajai Kumar Singh. “He (Mr. Singh) gave us sufficient number of policemen to carry out our task,” Mr. Hegde said.

At the first stock yard that was searched on Wednesday, the Lokayukta team did not find any records related to iron ore stocked at the place, which is mandatory under the rules. “Many involved in the trade are into such malpractice,” Mr. Hegde said.

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