The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to Bellary Iron Ores Pvt Ltd and stayed the operation of Andhra Pradesh High Court’s order allowing the company to lift 1.03 lakh tonnes of processed iron ore from its stocks.
The high court gave the permission and told the company to deposit with the state government Rs 1.5 crore.
The hundred per cent export-oriented unit is owned by SK Modi.
The company had given an undertaking to the high court that if the amount to be recovered from it was more than Rs.1.5 crore then the same would be paid in lumpsum.
The vacation bench of Supreme Court headed by Justice Deepak Verma and comprising Justice KS Radhakrishnan said the matter would be tagged with an earlier case of Obulapuram Mining Company Private Limited pending before the forest bench of the court.
The apex court passed the order on an appeal by the Andhra Pradesh government challenging the high court order.
However, the court told the government that the high court’s order was passed only after the advocate general of the state gave his consent.
When the senior counsel Parag Tripathi, appearing for the state, pressed for a stay on the high court order, Justice Verma asked: “Why did you get your consent recorded?”
Senior counsel UU Lalit said the company had procured the raw material from different sources and the company should be allowed to export them as it had its export obligations.
Lalit said that with the passage of time the value of the raw material was going down. He said that he had already paid the royalty along with Rs 1.5 crore and an undertaking.
At this, Tripathi said that it was not just merely a case of making the payments.
He said that the legality of the source from where the raw material has been procured too was also relevant.
He said that if the company has procured the raw material from different sources then it should not have any difficulty in producing the invoices and other documents related to the said transactions.
Lalit said: “Merely on supposition that it is an illegally mined ore I could not be stopped from lifting my stocks.”
Tripathi said that the government by its order of Nov 11, 2009 has suspended the mining and transportation of the already mined iron ore.
He said that this government order has not been challenged by the respondent company till date