A few mines under Category A, cleared by the Supreme Court to resume mining in the State, might yet again face problems with the Samaj Parivartan Samudaya, petitioner in the illegal mining case, seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the Special Investigation Team (SIT) into their activities.
The samudaya filed an Interlocutory Application (IA) in the Supreme Court on January 9 praying for a thorough investigation of the alleged illegalities committed by some mines under A, B, and C categories.
The samudaya has pleaded for suspension of mining by nine companies under Category A “in view of various illegalities or wilful and deliberate statutory violations” committed by them.
The mining leases, which according to the samudaya, have committed illegalities are R. Praveen Chandra, Varalaxmi Mining Co., RBSSN , Mysore Minerals Limited, Matha Minerals, Latha Mining Company, Sesa Goa, Rama Rao Poal and Deepchand Kishenlal.
The petitioner has appealed for a CBI probe into the alleged illegal transportation of 10 tonnes of ore from Bellary by the former Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar during the chief ministership of S.M. Krishna and N. Dharam Singh.
Citing a letter by the Director of the Department of Mines and Geology, Karnataka, to the CEC on the alleged violations committed by different companies operating mines classified under Categories A, B, and C, the samudaya has, in its IA, stated that the CEC has focussed on the violations in the mining lease process of the individual lease holds “while not examining the lease holding companies as an integrated unit”.
The “CEC had in its reply not acknowledged the concerns expressed by the director of mines and geology,” the application has said.
The companies named in a letter by the director includes: Mineral Enterprises Ltd., VESCO, B. Kumaragowda, VESCO Stockyard, KMMI and Zeenath Transport Corporation.
One of the leases of Mysore Minerals also falls under Category B.
“It is ironical that all these leases are listed under Category A and have been permitted to resume mining following the CEC’s recommendations,” the samudaya has said.
Speaking to The Hindu, Vishnu Kamath, Chairman, Technical Committee of National Council for the Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR), said that the samudaya was constrained to file the application seeking a direction in view of various other illegalities allegedly committed by several lessees, including those under Category A.
A Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s report on controls and systems for sustainable mining in Karnataka has pointed out the illegalities allegedly committed by Matha Minerals, he said.
S.R. Hiremath, samudaya president, said that an appeal was made to the court to direct the State government to assess the quantum of loss (involving independent experts and agencies) caused to the exchequer on account of illegal mining by lease holders in categories A, B, and C and for instituting appropriate proceedings to recover it.