Differing with the findings of the State, the CEC said the conclusion drawn by Andhra Pradesh was totally erroneous.

Even as the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to institute a CBI probe into the allegations of irregularities in iron ore mining in Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, the Central Empowered Committee has recommended to the Supreme Court to stop illegal activities in six mines in Obulapuram and H. Siddapuram villages.

In its report submitted to the court in the writ petition filed by Tapal Ganesh regarding alleged illegal mining in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, the CEC said mining activities should be permitted to be resumed only after fresh demarcation of the boundaries of the mining leases was completed.

The report said in the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border villages of H. Siddapuram and Obulapuram six iron ore mining leases exist in reserved forest area, viz., Bellary Iron Ore Pvt Ltd; M/s Y.M. & Son; three mines of Obulapuram Mining Co (OMC) and Anantapur Mining Corporation.

It said the main issue raised in the present application “is that the OMC is owned by influential and politically powerful persons. Its managing director Janardhana Reddy is a Cabinet Minister in the Karnataka government and who is also involved in business partnership with the son of the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. The OMC has encroached upon mineral-rich areas outside their mining leases and is carrying out large scale illegal mining in unallotted Reserved Forest areas.”

The CEC said Andhra Pradesh had taken the stand that all the mining leases “are in a compact block, there is no unallotted forest area lying between these mining leases and that the OMC is not involved in any illegal mining outside its mining areas.”