IAS officer Y. Srilakshmi, now in CBI custody, has blamed Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy for the grant of mining lease in favour of Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) saying it was done with the prior approval of the Minister.

The government order granting the lease was issued only after obtaining the approval of Ms. Sabita Indra Reddy who was then Mines and Geology Minister. A file in this regard was put up to the Minister, Ms. Srilakshmi stated in her bail application to the special court for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cases here on Wednesday. The court asked the CBI to file objections to the bail plea on Thursday.

Limited role

She said her role was limited solely to being a party to the processing of the file which resulted in release of the G.O. She was neither a signatory to the draft order nor the final G.O. though the latter was issued in her name as the Secretary of Industries and Commerce.

The IAS officer maintained that she was arrested on the basis of ‘wild and baseless' allegations as the provisional grant of mining lease to OMC took place six months before she took over as the Secretary. The lease was provisionally granted on November 4, 2005, whereas she joined the post only on May 17, 2006. Moreover, OMC was also informed of the grant to enable it to get further clearances from the Forest Department and the mines bureau.

Ms. Srilakshmi also said she forwarded to the Central government the shortlisted names of applicants of the mining lease after screening by the Director of Mines and her own subordinate officers. It was the Centre that was empowered to approve leases under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act but not the State government.

‘Routine business'

She dealt with the matter as a ‘routine bonafide official' business according to rules after the file was processed by her staff. She had no association with any of the members of the management of OMC. The allegations of favouring OMC as heaped on her by the CBI were false and amounted to suppression of material facts before the court. The charge that she wilfully omitted the words ‘captive mining' in the government order was without any material and contrary to documentary evidence gathered by the investigating agency.

She sought to be released on bail as she was suffering from a cardiac ailment ‘Prinzmental Angina' for which she had been undergoing treatment for several years.

‘Mining lease issued only after approval of Ms. Reddy who was then Mines and Geology Minister'

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