The CBI arrested Rajendra Kumar Jain, head of the Deccan Mining Syndicate, his relative and senior company executive Ritesh Milapchand Jain, retired Additional Chief Secretary N. Vishwanathan and Police Inspector Ramakanth Hullar on Wednesday. They were remanded in CBI police custody for eight days by the Special CBI Court.

Promoters of the Deccan Mining Syndicate (DMS) are accused of encroaching on mines owned by the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) at Donimalai in Sandur, Bellary. In its submission to the Supreme Court, the Central Empowered Committee had said that the encroachment by the DMS caused the NMDC, a public sector undertaking, a loss of Rs. 100 crore. Based on the CEC’s findings, the Supreme Court referred the case to the CBI for further investigation.

CBI sources said that the DMS had been leased 50 acres by the government in 1966. When the leasehold came up for renewal in 1996, the Department of Mines and Geology submitted a report blacklisting the company for stealing iron ore from the adjoining NMDC mine. Mr. Vishwanathan, who was then Principal Secretary for Commerce and Industries, allegedly overlooked this adverse report and renewed the lease.

He further aided the company by allegedly changing the sketch of the land leased to it. The new sketch, CBI sources said, included mine areas that belonged to the NMDC.

The CBI also found that the police did not take action when NMDC officials sought to file an FIR in 2009. A CBI source said that the jurisdictional Sub-Inspector repeatedly asked the NMDC officials to come back another day. When he finally accepted the complaint he allegedly asked the NMDC officials to change a section of their complaint, which sought the filing of an FIR. “He made them change that line and replace it with ‘kindly take necessary action’ instead,” said one CBI source. The altered complaint copy was ferreted out by the CEC during its investigation.

However, when the Sub-Inspector was questioned by the CBI about the complaint, he told them that he was following orders from his superior officer, Inspector Ramakanth Hullar.