Staff Reporter

Singh found guilty of causing loss of

Rs. 23.22 crore

He granted permission to allow transportation of iron ore deposited on the ‘patta’ lands

BANGALORE: Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde has found the former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh and 11 officials guilty of causing loss to the State exchequer owing to irregularities in the mining sector.

According to the information made available by the State Government, the Lokayukta report indicts Mr. Singh of causing loss of Rs. 23.22 crore. According to the report, Mr. Singh is at fault for allowing illegal mining in “patta” lands.

The former Director of Mines and Geology Department Gangaram Baderia has been held guilty of causing loss of Rs. 1.38 crore, former Managing Directors of Mysore Minerals Ltd (MML) Basappa Reddy (Rs. 6.41 crore), Jija Madhavan Harisingh (Rs. 299.42 crore), Mahendra Jain (Rs. 219.56 crore), D.S. Ashwath (Rs. 95.23 crore), K.S. Manjunath (Rs. 4.04 crore), I.R. Perumal (Rs. 5.02 crore) and V. Umesh (Rs. 6.9 crore); the former deputy general managers of MML K. Srinivas (Rs. 14.84 crore), M. Ramappa (Rs. 6.10 crore) and Shankaralingaiah (Rs. 63.38 crore).

Mr. Hegde has asked the State Government to take legal action against Mr. Singh and the officials.

During the inquiry, Mr. Singh was found to have granted permission to allow transportation of iron ore deposited on the “patta” lands based on a petition by some farmers. He took this decision despite being informed that such permission could not be granted under law. This permission facilitated illegal mining on “patta” lands and illegal transportation of ore. Mr. Baderia was found to have acted beyond his powers in two cases, the report said.

The Lokayukta said the MML, instead of mining on its own, had acted against the law and signed agreements with private companies and allowed them to take up mining operations on its behalf.

The agreements signed with companies such as Jindal Steel, Kalyani Steel and Mukund Steel were in favour of the private companies. The MML had failed to include in the agreement the provision to fix the rate of iron ore in accordance with the market rate. The iron ore has been allowed to be sold to persons recommended by Ministers and legislators.