‘Those who worked during 1986 to 2010 responsible for violation of rules’

Lokayukta Y. Bhaskar Rao has ordered the State government to initiate disciplinary action against directors of the Department of Mines and Geology who had served between 1986 and 2010 for granting lease to Sri Kumarswamy Mineral Exports(SKME) Pvt. Ltd.

‘Cancel mining lease’

In another order, Dr. Rao has directed the government to cancel or reject the mining lease granted to SKME and initiate criminal proceedings against the company within three months for violating provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act by extracting iron ore from an area it was not permitted to.

On a complaint filed by Mohammed Tanveer of Bellary that those holding the director’s post prior to 2010 had allegedly connived with SKME in granting mining lease and permitting the company to extract iron ore, Dr. Rao took up the investigation and passed the orders on March 13, 2014.

Mr. Tanveer had complained that SKME had been carrying out mining illegally in the area that did not belong to it and was neither granted by the State government. Despite bringing this aspect to the department’s notice, no action was taken against the company, he had alleged. He had accused the department Director and the Commerce and Industries Secretary of conniving with SKME with an ulterior motive.

Mr. Tanveer had said that SKME had sought grant of mining lease in 1986 to extract iron ore in 259 hectares of land in Yeshwantnagar village of Sandur taluk in Bellary district. In its application, SKME had said that the land for which lease was being sought fell outside the reserved zone and it had appended a sketch of the area.

During the course of inquiry, however, it was found that the area where mining took place was within the reserved zone where there was high quality iron ore. It was also found that there was violation of rules and regulations in executing the mining lease in favour of SKME and the then director of Mines and Geology, who had scrutinised the lease application, was to be held responsible, the order said.

“The then directors of Mines and Geology, who had scrutinised and recommended the mining lease application of SKME and allowed the firm to continue illegal mining from the date of grant of first mining lease and mislead the government holding that the company’s lease and mining was in accordance of law, are responsible for the violation of rules and regulations.

Accordingly, the directors who worked during 1986 to 2010 are found to be responsible for the misconduct and dereliction of duty,” the order said.

It also said that “a careful consideration of documents and facts of the case prima facie shows that the then directors of the Department of Mines and Geology had failed to maintain absolute devotion to duty and thereby committed misconduct under Section 3 (1) (iii) of the Karnataka Civil Services (Conduct) Rules and make themselves liable for disciplinary action.”

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