CBI exposes OMC's illegal mining

File photo of OMC mining near Bellary.

File photo of OMC mining near Bellary.  

The Obulapuram Mining Company of former Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy mined iron ore illegally from several locations, including immediate neighbours in Karnataka.

It used the mining licence granted by the Andhra Pradesh government as a front to export iron ore mined in locations other than those allotted to it. In its remand report submitted to the court on Monday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which spoke to witnesses, came to a conclusion that there was no active mining done in the leased area of 68.5 hectares held by the OMC in D. Hirehal Mandal of Anantapur district.

The OMC illegally brought iron ore extracted in other areas which was shown as if it was excavated in the said mining lease based on which permits were obtained from the district mining authorities. The report of the Lokayukta of Karnataka indicted OMC and its connection with various illegal mining activities in Karnataka.

Though the name of OMC was not mentioned in its report, the Lokayukta brought out the deep involvement of OMC directors and its front men in the activities of various other companies that were indulging in illegal mining in Karnataka.

The CBI remand report stated that the quality of iron ore in D. Hirehal was “very low and not of commercial grade”. Investigations revealed that the OMC, therefore, issued Raising Contracts to firms, which was not permissible under the Mineral Concession Rules.

The OMC, according to the CBI report, claimed to have lifted 29 lakh tonnes of ore between 2007-08 and 2009-10. But investigation proved that the leased area was not excavated to an extent from which such quantity of the ore could be extracted. “It is clearly visible from the satellite imageries of the leased area that there was no major mining activity and no possibility of 29 lakh tonnes being excavated,” the report said.

CBI teams, which physically inspected the area with the assistance of the Singareni Collieries using latest techniques like 3-D terrestrial laser scanner to establish that the total volume excavated from the area since inception was only 1,56,827 cubic metres or 5.48 lakh tonnes from which the actual volume of ore could be 1.45 lakh tonnes. Of this, only 40,387 tonnes was extracted within the lease boundary while the balance was from outside the leased area.

Source and destination

The OMC conspired with officials of the State government in obtaining the lease for the sole purpose of justifying their illegal mining activities. The CBI said investigations were on to establish the source and destination of the iron ore as well as the locations where the money obtained from the transaction was deposited.

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