Samaj Parivartan Samudaya, which is fighting illegal mining, has demanded that Minister for Infrastructure Development and Information Santosh Lad quit his post for what it alleged his involvement in illegal mining.
S.R. Hiremath, president of the samudaya, appealed to the Minister to step down from the post “honourably”. He said that various reports submitted by the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), the report of the Lokayukta and verdicts of the Green Bench of the Supreme Court were proof of his involvement.
The CEC has brought V.S. Lad and Sons, Sandur, of which Mr. Santosh Lad is a partner, under Category C. The CEC, in its final report submitted on February 3, 2012, classified mining leases into Categories A, B, and C based on illegalities and brought 51 mining leases with “maximum illegalities”, including V.S. Lad and Sons, under Category C, said Mr. Hiremath.
According to a deed of partnership made at Sandur on February 23, 2006, Eknath V. Lad, Vishwas U. Lad, Mr. Santosh Lad, Anil H. Lad, Akshay A. Lad and Naveen A. Lad (minors) are partners in V.S. Lad and Sons, he said. Producing a portion of the Lokayukta report, Mr. Hiremath said that 67,054.976 tonnes of iron ore was supplied between November 19, 2009 and February 18, 2010 to Belekeri Port in the name of V.S. Lad and Sons. On verification, it was found that permit had been issued only for 10,000 tonnes, he added.
The Minister said that V.S. Lad and Sons did not engage in mining outside the demarcated mining area which meant that there was no illegal mining. He admitted that the CEC had brought his firm under Category C but that was for violating dumping norms. He said that residue, however, had been washed away by heavy rain beyond the demarcated area.
Disputing observations in the Lokayukta report, Dr. Eknath Lad, managing partner, V.S. Lad and Sons, has, in a release, said: “We have despatched 10,000 tonnes of iron ore to Belekeri Port after obtaining all permits.”