The CBI on Monday registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against unknown officials of JSW Steel Ltd and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for alleged irregularities in granting clearance for diversion of forest land for mining in Ankua Reserve Forest in Jharkhand.
In January 2013, the Forest Advisory Committee under the MoEF had recommended the proposal for diversion of 998.7 hectare of forest land in Ankua Reserve Forest for mining of iron ore and manganese ore in favour of JSW Steel Limited in the Saranda Forest Division in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. The forest is a part of the Singhbhum elephant reserve and is considered one of the most important elephant habitats in the country.
A CBI official said, “The PE has been registered for alleged irregularities in granting approval or clearance ignoring the previous reservation and attempt to circumvent the due process for diversion of forest land for mining purpose. The approval was granted in 2013 by MoEF without receiving necessary report of the state government.”
CBI sources said officials of the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) were under scanner in the CBI probe, and that some more PEs are likely to be registered in connection with mining projects that were given a nod by the FAC around the same time.