Karnataka High Court upholds discharge of IAS officers, others in illegal mining case
The CBI said the accused were parties to a criminal conspiracy to commit offences of theft of iron ore, changing of boundaries, and criminal misconduct by abuse of their official positions.
Published: 07th October 2022 08:55 PM | Last Updated: 07th October 2022 08:55 PM | A+A A-
BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court has upheld the discharge of two retired IAS officers N Vishwanathan and Shameem Bhanu, both former additional chief secretaries of Karnataka, and four others in an illegal mining case.
The other four are: S P Raju, retired deputy director of Department of Mines and Geology, Ramakanth Y Hullar, the then circle inspector in Sandur, Ballari, Rajendra Kumar Jain, MD of Deccan Mining Syndicate Pvt Limited (DMSPL), and Rithesh Milapchand Jain, the CEO of same company.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed the six criminal revision petitions in 2016 challenging the January 30, 2016 order of the XLVI Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge and Special Judge for CBI cases.
The accused had been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
They had approached the trial court with applications for discharge, which had been granted.
The CBI had started the investigation in the case of illegal mining in Ballari after direction from the Supreme Court.
It found these six accused were parties to a criminal conspiracy hatched at Bengaluru, Bellary (Ballari), Hospet and other places in Karnataka during the period 1980-2010 to commit the offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, theft of iron ore, criminal trespass, changing of boundaries and criminal misconduct by abuse of their official position.
It was alleged that the State exchequer had suffered a wrongful loss to the tune of Rs 1232.395 crores and corresponding wrongful gain to the accused persons.
The basic allegation was that the accused company DMSPL had encroached on the area of government property of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), carried out illegal mining and exported iron ore from there.
The HC noted that the trial court had after going through the entire material, statement of witnesses, oral and documentary evidence come to the conclusion that since the prosecution has failed to prove from the statements of witnesses as well as documents, this allegation was not proved.
Therefore, the accused were discharged.
The HC concluded in its recent judgement that the Special Judge for CBI cases, Bangalore has rightly come to the conclusion that there are no sufficient materials/evidence against the accused persons to proceed further for framing of charge and, consequently, they were discharged from the case.