AP HC had stayed investigation due to unclear inter-state border
Bengaluru: Two major cases of illegal mining against former minister G Janardhana Reddy have not been investigated so far.
Large scale illegal mining using two leases in favour of Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) in Andhra Pradesh along with three other mining companies have remained uninvestigated despite a report by Central Empowered Committee (CEC). There has been no effort on the part of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to vacate the stay on investigation ordered by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in the wake of unclear boundary in these mining lease areas between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
There are six mining leases in Ballari Reserve Forest area spread across Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Of the six leases, three belong to OMC- OMC-2 and OMC-3 while the other leases are Bellary Iron Ore Pvt Ltd (BIOP), Y Mahabaleshwarappa and Sons (YM&Sons), Anantapur Mining Corporation (AMC), another company owned by Reddy. The CBI has so far investigated the illegal mining operations by one of the OMC leases (OMC-3) and one by AMC.
The CBI investigation into illegal mining by OMC-3 has revealed that though 28 lakh tonnes of iron ore was shown to have been mined, a major portion of it was illegally extracted from other lease areas in Karnataka and transported across illegally constructed roads through the reserve forest. The CBI had arrested Reddy, Y Srilakshmi, the then secretary mines, and Raja Gopal, the then director mines and geology in Andhra Pradesh, in this case.
“The investigation into the encroachment by the remaining mine cluster has been delayed because of the order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court which stayed the investigation pending the establishment of the inter-state boundary. Neither of the two states is interested in settling the issue. The mining lease holder, OMC, had also demolished Sugalamma Devi temple, which is an unallocated area, since the area had rich iron ore content,” Prof Vishnu Kamath, co-petitioner before the Supreme Court told DH.
The petitioners did their part by moving the Supreme Court seeking a deadline to settle the border issue. In November 2012, the Apex Court ordered the finalisation of the boundary within a period of 12 weeks. However, the order has not been given effect till date.
“In my opinion, the inter-state boundary issue has little do with the question of encroachment and illegal mining. The issue of the border is between the states and the survey and demarcation can be carried out based on the original lease agreements. A similar method was used to survey 120-odd mines in Karnataka,” Prof Kamath said.
Courtesy: DH News Service