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SC raps Karnataka for illegal iron ore export

Seeking a probe into illegalities in mining and export,the Supreme Court Thursday censured the Karnataka government for failure to check illegal export of iron ore from Belekeri port.

Seeking a probe into illegalities in mining and export,the Supreme Court Thursday censured the Karnataka government for failure to check illegal export of iron ore from Belekeri port.

A bench led by Justice Aftab Alam also indicated that it may direct a CBI probe into the illegal export of 35 lakh metric tonne of iron ore and eight lakh metric tonne of seized mineral from the port in Karwar district.

The Bench directed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to devise ways to “segregate” the case relating to illegal export in a manner which could speed up the investigation leading to early “conviction” of those guilty within six months.

Shyam Divan,appearing for the CEC,read out the contents of the April 27 report on how a huge quantity of illegally extracted iron ore was exported from the port between 2009 to 2010. He alleged that there was a complete break down of law as a “Bhopal-type” situation was created in terms of collusion between the erring officials and the accused.

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Calling the case of illegal export as “rarest of rare”,Divan said it was a horrific situation. He also said that no royalty was paid to government.

Senior advocate Raju Ramchandran,appearing for the Karnataka government,submitted that chargesheets have already been filed,including under the Prevention of Corruption Act,against the accused.

The court,however,was not impressed. “Your chargesheet is merely an eyewash. Your explanation does not inspire confidence. Can it happen without state machinery turning a blind eye? Can there be more blatant violation of the laws of the land? Just imagine the magnitude of the case. See the daredevilry; even seized stocks have vanished,” it said.

First published on: 24-08-2012 at 12:07:02 am
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