The Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) today quizzed the Karnataka Government on the action taken on the alleged illegal mining in the mineral-rich Bellary district.

The three-member CEC held a meeting with Karnataka Chief Secretary S V Ranganath and sought details of the steps initiated to curb the alleged illegal mining, official sources said. Senior officials from the Departments of Forest and Mines and Geology were among those present, they said.

The CEC members and the Chief Secretary declined to share with the media details of the deliberations.

P V Jayakrishnan (Chairman), M K Jiwrajka (Member-Secretary) and Mahendra Vyas form the three-member CEC which had amicus curiae A D N Rao and Siddhartha Chowdhary.

Following a writ petition filed by “Samaj Parivartana Samudaya”, the Supreme Court had on February 25 asked the CEC to submit a report on the alleged illegal mining in Karnataka within six weeks.

The CEC held its first hearing in Delhi on March 10 and based on the deliberations, it had sent a nine-page questionnaire to the State government on 14 points.

In today’s meeting, while the Forest department’s responses were direct, they were general in nature in case of the Mines and Geology department, sources said.

They said the CEC would undertake field inspection to look into allegations of illegal mining. It is expected to visit Hospet and Sandur taluks besides Ramgad reserved forest tomorrow and the day after.

“The CEC is slated to hold one more round of meeting with the Chief Secretary and officials on Monday after they return to Bangalore”, sources said.

Founder-President of Samaj Parivartana Samudaya, S R Hiremath, who participated in the meeting, told reporters, .

“The CEC wanted to know the specific steps that the State Government took to stop illegal mining. They also wanted to know if the officials connived in illegal mining”.