Illegal Mining: ‘No case against 191 cops,evidence weak’

191 policemen figured among a list of 617 government officials identified as recipients of bribe.

Written by Johnson T A | Bangalore | Published:January 4, 2012 12:12 am

The recommendations of the July 27,2011 report of the Karnataka Lokayukta for action against people’s representatives and public servants for their role in facilitating illegal mining and export of iron ore from Karnataka has resulted in three different courses of action being initiated against politicians,bureaucrats and policemen.

A preliminary police inquiry as to whether the state police can take up disciplinary proceedings against 191 officials found by the Lokayukta report to have received bribes to facilitate illegal mining in 2009-10 has called the evidence weak and ruled that “no prima facie case is made out to initiate proceedings’’ against them.

The inquiry was referred to a superintendent of police rank official V S D’Souza last year by the then state police chief N Achutha Rao on the grounds that the Lokayukta report did not carry enough evidence to substantiate disciplinary proceedings against the policemen. The 191 policemen figured among a list of 617 government officials identified as recipients of bribe in a computer file seized by the Income-Tax department during a raid on the residence of illegal mining operator Karapudi Mahesh.

Following the preliminary inquiry,the inquiry officer has in a report said,“It is safe to conclude that the list of officials said to have accepted bribes from Karapudi Mahesh is not a sound piece of evidence as defined in criminal jurisprudence.”

Former Supreme Court judge Justice Santosh Hegde who guided the Karnataka Lokayukta report on illegal mining has questioned the police action of analysing the evidence gathered for the report without registering an FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act and taking up a full investigation.

The police inquiry report,however,stands in contradiction to an inquiry conducted by a committee into the role of other government officials. Based on its report,the BJP government on October 28 accepted part of the July 27 report and has initiated disciplinary action against 182 government officials identified through the report.

The state government is,however,yet to decide on action to be initiated against former ministers and political leaders named in the report.

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