The CBI on Wednesday arrested four people, including a retired IAS officer M Vishwanathan, for illegal mining worth Rs 1,200 crore by the Deccan Mining Syndicate (DMS) between 1999 and 2010. Also arrested were DMS owners Rajendra Kumar Jain and Ritesh Jain and then police inspector of Sandur, Ramakanth Hallura.
This is the biggest case in terms of illegal money made, other than the ones against G Janardhana Reddy’s Associated Mining Company (AMC). The Supreme Court directed the CBI to probe into the illegalities by both AMC and DMS and the linkages in their functioning. While Reddy is already in prison, the CBI special court on Wednesday remanded the accused to police custody till June 12.
“We had sought 15 days’ custody of these accused, but we got only eight days. Probe into other cases is going on,’’ an official said.
According to a source, DMS exported up to 60 lakh tonnes of iron ore between 1999 and 2010. But DMS’ mining lease on 50 acres at Kammatheravu village in Bellary district expired in 1999 itself.
Vishwanathan, who was then Principal Secretary, Commerce and Industry, allegedly conspired with DMS to encroach lease area belonging to National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). Sources said NMDC had leased out an area of 1,750 acres next to the DMS area. DMS owners submitted a tweaked sketch, including a huge part of the NMDC lease area in two villages nearby at Kumaraswamy Betta and Subbarayanapalli, and sought renewal of their lease.
Inspector Hallura allegedly helped DMS transport illegal ore to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu borders for shipping from Krishnapatnam and Chennai respectively. He also reportedly ignored complaints filed on encroachments by DMS.
The Lokayukta report revealed that DMS exported 38,000 tonnes from Chennai and 28,000 tonnes from Krishnapatnam.