BENGALURU: A Special Court has condemned the conduct of a 1989 batch Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, besides rejecting his application seeking to make colleagues who deposed against him in an illegal mining case, as co-accused. The officer is facing trial in a case related to the illegal extraction and export of iron ore in Ballari district.
The IFS officer, the then Conservator of Forests, Ballari, Manoj Kumar Shukla, is presently serving as Director, Centre for Social Forestry and Eco Rehabilitation, Allahabad. While rejecting his application recently, Judge B V Patil, of the Special Court set up exclusively to deal with criminal cases related to elected MPs/MLAs in Karnataka, said the conduct of Shukla was highly condemnable.
It is open for Shukla to challenge the court’s decision if it dismissed his application to discharge himself from the case, but not to file an application seeking action against his colleagues, who are prosecution witnesses. Some of them are retired and some are still in service, the judge said.
The court said the Investigating Officer (IO) found that there was prima facie material to file a charge-sheet against Shukla; then DCF Muthaiah; then Deputy Director of Mines and Geology, Hosapete, SP Raju; and others. But the IO did not find sufficient materials to file a charge-sheet against the persons named in Shukla’s application. Such being the case, the application filed by Shukla is devoid of merit and liable to be rejected, the Special Court said.
Shukla is facing charges of conspiracy and also offences under Section 13(1)(d) read with 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Case history: Rs 198 crore loss caused
IFS Officers Muthaiah (Accused No.2) and Manoj Kumar Shukla (Accused No.7) in collusion with
G Janardhana Reddy (Accused No.1) and his associates allegedly removed the Andhra-Karnataka border forest check-post at Halkundi in October 2008 to facilitate illegal transportation of iron ore and caused loss to the state exchequer of Rs 198 crore.