Maheshwara Mining Company was denied leases by the two officials, says mine owner

A mine owner from Kurnool district, V.M. Balakrishna Reddy, deposed before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday as yet another witness in the illegal mining case.

Sources stated that the CBI was particular about Mr. Balakrishna Reddy's deposition in support of its efforts to build a strong case against all the accused in the case, including the State government officials, who played a key role in helping Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) of Gali Janardhan Reddy.

The investigating agency is gathering every possible evidence to prove former Director of Mines and Geology (DMG) V.D. Rajagopal and IAS officer Y. Sri Lakshmi, who was the Secretary in Industries Department then, guilty of having committed irregularities in general and in helping the OMC.

Mr. Balakrishna Reddy's mining lease applications, however, had nothing to do with OMC.

Mr. Balakrishna Reddy told reporters later that the two officials had denied iron ore mining leases to his Maheshwara Mining Company wilfully in 2008 in Dhone, Bethamcherla and Veldurthi areas in Kurnool district.

The DMG had rejected their applications without citing reasons.

The High Court had directed the government to do justice to the petitioner firm when it moved the court in 2008.

“When we approached Ms. Sri Lakshmi in due course, the officer suggested us to get recommendation either from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) or from K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao,” Mr. Balakrishna Reddy explained.

When the firm moved the court again, the DMG argued that the areas applied were reserved for Andhra Pradesh Mining Development Corporation.

Later, when contended that first-come-first-serve policy was in vogue, the DMG said mineral reserve in the areas was uneconomical to exploit.

“When it was uneconomical, how could DMG reserve the areas for APMDC?” Mr. Balakrishna Reddy sought to know and alleged that it was done intentionally to support other firms as APMDC was not supposed to mine on its own.

Fourth time

Another mining businessman, Shashi Kumar, appeared before the CBI for the fourth time on Wednesday as a witness. Retired IAS officer K. Prabhakar Reddy, who was with the CMO till 2009, was also examined as a witness on Tuesday night.