NEW DELHI: A Supreme Court-appointed panel Friday recommended to the apex court that payments made by mining companies to establishments linked to close relatives of former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa should be probed by the CBI.
The central empowered committee on environmental matters (CEC) made recommendations for investigation by the CBI in three cases involving the sale of land to M/S South West Mining Corporation after its land use was changed from agriculture to non-agriculture (residential), linkage between the receipt of Rs.10 crore donation made to Prerana Educational Society' by the Jindal Groups M/S Sought West Mining Limited for alleged receipt of illegal minerals by the M/S JSW Steel Limited.
Yeddyurappa's close relatives are directors or share holders in the companies.
The committee, in its recommendation to the forest bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Swatanter Kumar in the third case also sought investigation into allegation whether there was any link between payment of Rs.2.5 crore to M/S Bhagat Homes Private Limited and Rs.3.5 crore to M/S Dhavalgir Property Developers Limited and the grant of mining lease to one person named, Praveen Chandra, during Yeddyurappa's tenure.
The CEC wanted the investigating agency to see to look into the allegation whether there was a quid pro quo in these payments and allotment of mining leases to Parveen Chandra.
Appearing for the NGO Samaj Paruivartan Samudaya, the counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court that CEC had given a report recommending the CBI probe. He told the court CEC has given its recommendations for CBI probe after giving hearing Yeddyurappa.
Bhushan told the court that Karnataka high court had quashed the proceedings against Yeddyurappa' by the Lokayukta police on the grounds that Lokayukta while recommending registration of case had not afforded the former Chief Minister an opportunity to present his side of the version.
The court wass told that now the institution of Lokayukta in the state was in shambles and senior police officers working in it too have been moved out. The court said that it will consider the report later.
In the meanwhile, the court accepted the recommendations of the CEC in respect of category A mines and said that mining which is to be resumed in appropriate cases shall not extend to unbroken forest area (virgin forest). However, the court made it clear that any mining activity would be subject the R&R and the Ministry of Environment and Forest will revisit statutory clearances in the light of R&R