Bellary/New Delhi: Spelling more trouble for BJP MLA G Janardhan Reddy, the CBI has registered five new cases in illegal iron ore exports worth Rs 2,500 crore and carried out searches at 17 locations including on the premises of associates of the jailed mining baron today.
After filing the five new FIRs and a preliminary enquiry, the teams of CBI officials carried out a co-ordinated search operation at 17 locations in Goa and Karnataka which included the premises of various mining firms and exporters.
The searches were spread across Bangalore, Karwar, Hospet and Goa at the premises of ILC industries, Dream Logistics, SB Logistics, Sri Malikaarjuna Shipping, Greentex Industries, Adani Enterprises and Salgaocar Mining Industries, Swastik Cements, Rajmahal and softex.
A 10-member CBI team also searched the houses of Karapudi Mahesh, Swastik Nagaraj and Somasekhar, who runs a transport firm, all aides of Reddy, the sources said.
CBI sources alleged that over 50 lakh tonnes of iron ore was illegally exported and four exporters–ILC, SB Logistics, Dream Logistics and Shree Mallikarjun Shipping Pvt Ltd–were involved in half of these exports.
Adani has said in a statement that the company is a mere service provider and not in a position to check mandatory clearances/permissions/permits as it does not have the authority to do so.
“All the above activities were done on behalf of the exporters under the supervision and clearance of customs and port authorities,” it had said after a Supreme Court order.
In its directions to CBI to probe the scam, the Supreme Court had questioned the Karnataka government as to how law enforcing agencies, particularly the CB-CID, were unaware of illegal mining on such a huge scale in its own forest reserves and transportation of minerals to the Belekeri port by using around five lakh trucks over a period of 17 months.
It is alleged that the iron-ore was transported to Belekeri Port between 1 January, 2009 and 31 May, 2010 and exported to foreign companies especially China and Pakistan.
The apex court had appointed a Central Empowered Committee(CEC), which recommended an in depth investigation of the mining and exports of the ore.
The two CEC reports of April 27 and September six had suggested a probe to find out officials responsible for various associated illegalities and thereafter to take appropriate follow up action against erring exporters, suppliers, transporters, stockyard personnel and officials.
In the 6 September report, the CEC recommended that CBI must investigate all aspects of the illegalities associated with raising, transportation, sale and purchase, storage and disposal of about 3.4 mn tonnes of iron ore exported from 1 January, 2009 to 31 May, 2010 by four exporters.