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Revealed: Kumaraswamy's role in Karnataka illegal mining

August 01, 2011 18:19 IST

They (former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, controversial Mumbai encounter specialist Daya Nayak and two others) have been putting pressure and the honourable chief minister also spoke to me thrice.

This is one of the many interesting file notings that can be found in Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde's report on illegal mining.

Another interesting part of the report is the one on illegalities in M/s Janthakal Enterprises. It talks about Daya Nayak and H D Kumraswamy trying to exercise their clout and how iron ore was exported to Pakistan illegally.

Excerpts from the report:

A mining lease No 593/993 at Hirekandawadi and Tanigehalli villages of Holalkere Taluk, Chitradurga District was granted in 1965 in favour of Raghavendra Rao. Further, it is claimed by M/s Janthakal Enterprises that the said mine has been transferred in its favour in 1967 though no government order is available in any file/ records of the state government as well as with the lessee.

The mining lease has been renewed twice under Section 8 (2) of Mines and Minerals (Regulation & Development) Act, 1957 vide two notifications dated 23.08.2007 with retrospective effect on the same day with a gap of 22 years. The renewal had been approved by the secretary of the then chief minister (Kumaraswamy).

The Lokayukta takes note that the second renewal of the lease was granted without entering into a lease deed agreement between the department and lessee. This makes it an incomplete process and the second renewal on the same day is not legally valid.

While the report makes a note that this entire process was not valid as per the law, there is a very interesting noting by the commissioner of mines in this connected file.

This noting made in 2007, when H D Kumaraswamy was the chief minister, states the following.

There is tremendous pressure from the honourable chief minister's office as well as the honourable chief minister regarding the issue of working permission, which is not at all possible in the absence of Forest Clearance & Environment Clearance from the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India.

However, the government of India vide letter No. J- 11015/19/2007-IA.II(M) dated 27.08.2007 has given permission to lift about 1 lakh m tones of low grade Iron ore and manganese with the condition that the old stacked dump should be removed in a scientific manner so that the environmental hazardous due to erosion of the old dump are minimised. No fresh production activities or cutting of trees or forest grown during the course of lifting of the old material is allowed.

Lessee is also directed to comply with the condition imposed by their office as per Forest Conservation Act, 1980. No fresh mining production will be taken up without obtaining forest clearance.

There is tremendous pressure, repeated telephone calls. This case has been followed by Mr Vijay Kumar; suspended police officer Mr Daya Nayak of Maharashtra, Mr Darshan Goel & Mr. Vinod Goel; from the date of notification till now.

They have been putting pressure and the honourable CM also spoke to me thrice. I have to explain that nothing is pending in our office. Sooner the report received from the DD/Chitradurga, regarding availability of the old stocks, permission will be given. There is procedure, to first get approval from the Commerce & Industries Department, government of Karnataka, then communicate to the lessee & DD/Chitradurga and in this present case, Honourable CM has given ultimatum that the permission should be given within TWO HOURS, without loss of time.

Therefore, permission should be issued and directions should be given to the DD/Chitradurga to allow lessee to lift old dumps as it is already permitted by the government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests, letter dated 27.8.2007 with the above mentioned conditions should be strictly be complied.

Therefore one letter must be addressed to the government for approval and another letter must be written to the DD/Chitradurga in view of the kind of pressure put up by the above mentioned persons on this office through the honourable CM.
 
Now here are the illegalities as noted in the report according to the Lokayukta.

The second renewal accorded on 23-08-07 without having entered into lease deed agreement for the first renewal under Section 8(2) of MMRD Act is improper and incomplete.

Vinod Goel hatched a conspiracy to work in the lease area on the garb of lifting the "old dumps" by creating forged and fake documents purportedly issued from MoEF and bringing extraneous pressure to issue permission for lifting the "old dump". The two letters in favour of authorised signatory and principal chief conservator of forests purportedly issued from MoEF, New Delhi were forged and fake. The letters are no. J- 11015/19/2007-IA, II (m) dated 27-08-2007 and J- 11015/82/2008-IA, II (m) dated 14-02-2008 respectively.

The permission granted by the then commissioner, mines and geology, Bangalore to lift the old waste dumps of iron ore under extraneous pressures was illegal, irregular and improper. The permission was granted even without receiving a letter from MoEF to Goel. No letter was addressed to him by MoEF.

The connected records were stolen from the files of the offices of principal chief conservator of forests (FC section) and principal secretary, FEE. No action was taken even after the lapse of 5-6 months on this matter. No action has been taken even today against the officials responsible for it. No case of theft has been registered.

The lease No. 593/933 of M/s Janthakal Enterprises has been sold at a cost of Rs 3.01 crore to Vinod Goel who is also a proprietor of Hunuman Mines, Tumkur and M/s Twenty First Century Wire Rods Ltd.

The money has been deposited in the bank account No 06009010002741 of Syndicate Bank, Bellary of Janthakal Enterprises. This is in violation of Rule 37, 46 and 48 of the MCR 1960, therefore the lease should be cancelled by following due procedure under the law and the amount of Rs. 3.01 crore should be forfeited to state government.

It is learnt that after obtaining the approval of the commissioner, mines for lifting the old dumps of iron ore, Vinod Goel started working in the mines. The sign of working is available at the mine even today.

It is to state that after the issue of permission by the director, mines, Vinod Goel had started working in the leased area. Two offence cases were booked by the officials of the forest department and the same has been compounded by the deputy conservator of frests. It is to state that offence case was booked against the unconnected persons and not against the original culprit. Hence the offence case filed was very weak.

The director of M/s Twenty First Century Wire Rods Ltd made a submission before this office on 14-08-2010 regarding export of iron ore fines from Belekeri port and iron ore lumps from Murmagao Port, Goa.

As per this submission a total amount US $ 20,00,000 has been received as advance against the iron ore lumps exported from Murmagao port to Pakistan Steels, Karachi, Pakistan. The director further submits that as per the iron ore lumps supply contract dated 31-10- 2009 between M/s Twenty First Century Wires Rods Ltd, Sadashivanagar, Bangalore and the Alsaa Petroleum and Shipping FZC, RAK free trade zone UAE; the supplier is supposed to supply the lumps from the Sri Hanuman Mines and M/s Janthakal Enterprises, Karnataka

On verification of the permits issued by the Tumkur, deputy director, mines; permit of 2992 MT is issued for RKB Plot, Santona Sanguces, Goa in the year of 2009-10. Even if this quantity is taken for export there remains a deficit of 36478 WMT. There is no permit issued from Janthakal Enterprises.

This indicates that the export of iron ore lumps to Pakistan is from the illegal iron ore source. The iron ore lumps for export are either transported from Hanuman Mines or from the Janthakal Enterprises Mines or from any other unknown source illegally.

At the end of this chapter, the Lokayukta notes that in the case of H D Kumaraswamy, no action has been recommended as he holds no public office.

Vicky Nanjappa