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Karnataka CID names 45 firms in illegal ore export probe

September 06, 2010 16:40 IST
The probe into Karnataka's illegal mining has taken a dramatic turn with the Criminal Investigation Department, the state's premier investigating agency, naming 45 high profile companies in its report. Part of the report with the CID's list is in the possession of

The agency has stated in its report, which will be submitted to the Karnataka high court, that it has to question all the officials of these companies in order to get at the truth behind the theft of iron ore from the Karwar-Bilkikere port.

A couple of months back, Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde had tendered his resignation over the same issue, stating that the government was not doing enough to support his investigation, and also said that several thousand tonnes of iron ore that had been seized had gone missing from the Karwar port.

The CID, which has been probing the matter, has now named 45 companies in its report.

Among the prominent companies the CID has named is Sesa Goa, in which Vedanta Resources picked up a 51 per cent stake for Rs 4070 crore in 2007.

Some of the other names on the list are: Alpine International; Bharat Mines and Minerals; Deepa Mines and Minerals; Gem Laboratories; Greentex Ltd; IGC India; Kirloskar Ferrous; Kothari Products; Mineral Enterprises Ltd; Pisces Exim; Rotomac Global; Shalini Impex; SB Logistics; Sri Venkateshwara Transport; Sri Srinivasa Minerals; Vesco; Taurian Iron Steel Pvt Ltd; GRM Ltd; TMPL; KNS Overseas Ltd; John Mines; Gimplex; and Rajmahal Silk.

The CID probe got a fillip following a directive by the Karnataka high court to speed up the investigation into the missing iron ore case, and the agency formed four teams to carry out the investigations.

Chief Minister B Yeddyurappa has also said the CID had named the companies which were allegedly involved in the export of iron ore.

The CID has so far arrested 10 persons from various mining companies who it says knew about the seized ore and even facilitated its movement from the port. In addition, they have also picked up one Shivaprakash, a supervisor with Metachem Manufacturing Company based in Vishakapatnam, who is being grilled for more information. The investigations have shown that the operation was done in connivance with the port officer.

Director general of CID, D V Guruprasad, says the scam is not what meets the eye but has a larger magnitude.

The Lokayukta, however, adds that he would not want to comment on the line of investigation followed by the CID. "I will go on with my probe and the chief minister has assured the other day that the probe by the CID won't interfere with mine," he said.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru