Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday told the Legislative Assembly that the Lokayukta police would be given a free hand to initiate criminal proceedings against those involved in illegal mining.

Replying to BJP floor leader Jagadish Shettar during Question Hour, the Chief Minister pointed out that the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee had classified 69 mining leases in the State under Category B (less than 10 per cent violations) and 51 mining leases under Category C (more than 10 per cent violations) depending upon the severity of violations.

The government had cancelled all the 51 mining leases under Category C and collected penalty from holders of 69 leases of under Category B besides directing them to properly implement the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Plan, he said.

Similarly, a high-level committee, headed by the Chief Secretary, was set up on September 23 to look into the process of re-allotment of Category C mining leases, he said.

He said that as per the CEC report, 1,723.63 hectares of forest and revenue land had been encroached upon in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts by mining companies.

Terror link

Meanwhile, Home Minister K.J. George said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had raided a few places in Mangalore to establish the links of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal.

Replying to BJP member V. Sunil Kumar, the Minister said the NIA had raided an apartment at Attavar in Mangalore where Bhatkal’s associate, Daniel alias Asad Ulla, was residing and seized explosives from there. He declined to disclose more details stating that the issue was under NIA investigation.

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