Many heads might roll before the investigation into the scam relating to the Gali Janardhan Reddy-owned Obulapuram Mining Company comes to its logical end.
This was indicated by highly placed sources after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) grilled IAS officer Y. Sri Lakshmi for nine hours at the office of the investigating agency here on Thursday. She appeared at the CBI's Koti office at 10.20 a.m. and was allowed to leave at 7.30 p.m.
As speculation did the rounds that Ms. Lakshmi would be arrested, she applied for leave and had left on a sojourn to Chennai till Wednesday.
Sources in CBI hinted that the ongoing investigation may lead to developments in the coming days that could drastically shift the entire scenario.
Senior officials of the agency refused to share details of the questioning of Ms. Lakshmi but she was reportedly confronted with former mines director V.D. Rajagopal who is in the custody of CBI for the past five days.
Ms. Lakshmi is the fourth accused in OMC case after former Karnataka Minister G. Janardhan Reddy, managing director of the company B.V. Srinivas Reddy and Mr. Rajagopal. She is presently the Commissioner of Family Welfare but her responsibilities have been entrusted to J. Shyamala Rao, Managing Director, AP State Health and Medical Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation, in her absence.
The main charge against the IAS officer is that she dropped the words “captive mining” from the government order sanctioning grant of mining lease over 68.5 hectares to OMC in Obulapuram village of Anantapur district. She issued the order as secretary of industries in-charge of the subject of mines.
The words were included in the draft order but omitted in the final document.
She was also charged with sanctioning the lease to OMC post-haste overlooking the bids of 26 other competitors. Only OMC and Vinayaka Mining Company in which Mr. Janardhan Reddy's father-in-law is a partner were shortlisted for selection.
Ms. Lakshmi was summoned by CBI on Thursday for the second time in less than 20 days. She was questioned by its joint director V.V. Lakshmi Narayana and Additional SP R.M. Khan.