The Supreme Court on Monday directed the CBI to register criminal cases against those exporters who were inquired in the preliminary investigation and had exported iron ore of more than 50,000 tonnes without valid permits. A three-judge Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik, S.S. Nijjar and Ranjan Gogoi passed the order in an application filed by the CBI seeking the court’s permission for registration of FIR after completion of preliminary inquiry as recommended by the Central Empowered Committee in its report of September 5, 2012.
The Bench also permitted the CBI to refer the matter with respect to exporters who had exported quantities less than 50,000 tonnes and who were either inquired or not inquired for taking action by the State government as per the relevant laws. The Bench made it clear that restriction imposed by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act on grant of sanction would not apply to the investigation directed by this court. The Bench asked both the CBI and the State government to file compliance reports within four months.
In its application, the CBI said that it had concluded preliminary inquiries and had found several irregularities, and that cognisable offences had been made out. It said that such investigation had been taken to its logical conclusion by filing FIR, and sought permission to convert the PE into regular criminal cases. The cases pertain to illegalities in respect of iron ore seized from Belekeri port as well as export of 32.27 lakh tonnes of iron ore by 18 exporters from the port without valid permits.