Senior Karnataka bureaucrat arrested in mining scam

Posted on May 16, 2017 from Karnataka, National ι Report #125637

Bengaluru, May 15 (IANS) Karnataka's Principal Secretary, Revenue, Ganga Ram Baderia was arrested by the Special Investigation Team of the state's Lokayukta) for his alleged involvement in a mining scam a decade ago.

"Baderia gave permission to Janthakal Enterprises Ltd to export 1.2 lakh tonnes of iron ore on receiving Rs 10 lakh bribe from the mining firm when he was Director of the State's Mines and Geology Department in 2007," Lokayukta Inspector General of Police K.S.R. Charan Reddy told reporters here.

Baderia, a 1989 IAS batch officer, had also recommended renewal of the mining firm's lease, with forged documents for allowing it to mine iron ore from the reserved forest area in Ballari district, as evident from his official notings in the files.

"A court remanded Baderia to three-day police custody for interrogation," said Reddy, adding that the case against him, the mining firm and others was registered on April 5 on the Supreme Court's March 29 directive,

Since the mining scam occurred during the tenures of then Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal-Secular and N. Dharam Singh of the Congress in 2005-07, the apex court also made them and then 11 serving and retired officers as respondents in the case.

The top court's division bench comprising Justices P.C. Ghose and R.F. Nariman also restrained all other courts, including the Karnataka High Court from passing any order in the case.

"The permission to lift the old dump at Holalkere taluk in Chitradurga district, belonging to Janthkal Enterprises, was processed in 2007," said Reddy.

Baderia renewed the firm's mining lease for 40 years from 1985 to 2005 and from 2006-2025 on August 23, 2007 through two notifications.

According to a complaint by Right to Information (RTI) activist T.J. Abhraham to the anti-corruption body, the former Chief Ministers and many officials were involved in de-reserving forest areas in the rich mineral district of Ballari, about 330 km from Bengaluru.

Abraham filed the complaint with the findings of the former state Ombudsman Justice N. Santosh Hegde, who investigated the multi-crore mining scam in the state from 2001-2010 and indicted many politicians, ministers, lawmakers, officials and mining firms for their involvement in the irregularities.