BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh government has ordered closure of iron ore mines belonging to BJP MLA and former state minister Sanjay Pathak's family in Jabalpur district, on the directions of the Supreme Court.
Jabalpur Collector Bharat Yadav on Saturday ordered the immediate closure of the mines owned by mining baron Pathak's company Nirmala Minerals in Agariya and Dubiyara villages in Sihora tehsil.
The collector said in view of the Supreme Court's order, Nirmala Minerals should close the sanctioned mineral blocks allotted in Sihora for necessary scrutiny.
The Supreme Court had ordered closure of the mines on May 3 pending investigations about alleged breach of forest land rules.
The collector set up a three-member committee to look into the charges about the mines being located on forest land. Yadav said the mines were ordered closed in compliance with the apex court's orders.
Pathak, on the other hand, said the case was subjudice and the government action was due to political reasons, adding he would respond through legal means.
Pathak, who represents the Vijayraghogarh constituency, has been rumoured to be planning to return to the Congress after the BJP's defeat in the Assembly election last year.
The buzz continued during the Lok Sabha election too.
Pathak, son of former Congress minister in the state, Satyendra Pathak, was the richest candidate during the 2013 Assembly election with declared assets worth over Rs 226 crore.
After the BJP returned to power for the third time in the state in 2013, Pathak crossed over to the saffron party at the instance of former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to save his mines which are under litigation for being located on forest land.