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CBI steps up probe into illegal mining

CBI steps up probe into illegal mining Intensifying the probe into illegal mining, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Thursday examined a former government official and a witness while continuing to grill former Karnataka minister G. Janardhana Reddy and his brother-in-law Srinivasa Reddy.


CBI officials conducted searches at the houses of former director of mines V.D. Rajagopal here and examined him in connection with the permit given to Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) for mining in Anantapur district, bordering Karnataka.


Several officials, including two former secretaries of mines and forests, are under CBI scanner for allegedly colluding with OMC in its illegal mining activities.


While seeking custody of the two accused, CBI counsel had told the special court that the agency wanted to question them regarding the role of public servants.


The officials had allegedly issued permits to OMC for mining, transporting the illegally mined iron ore and laying roads in the forests.


The investigating agency, which registered a case in 2009, continued to grill OMC director Janardhana Reddy and managing director Srinivasa Reddy separately for the third consecutive day at the CBI office at Koti in the presence of their lawyers.


With their custody ending Sep 19, the CBI officials are trying to extract as much information as possible by confronting the accused with evidence like satellite maps of the mining areas.


CBI sources have not ruled out the agency taking the duo to mining areas in Anantapur or Bellary district of Karnataka for gathering more evidence.


The CBI has also issued notice to Janardhana Reddy’s elder brother G. Karunakara Reddy, who too is a former minister in Karnataka, to appear before it Friday.


Tappala Ganesh, a mining lease holder considered a key witness in the case, was also examined by the CBI here Thursday.


The officials recorded his statement, especially with regard to his complaint that OMC and other companies of Reddy brothers indulged in illegal mining in areas leased to him.


The CBI arrested Janardhana Reddy and Srinivasa Reddy in Karnataka’s Bellary district Sep 5.


The same day they were brought to Hyderabad and a special CBI court remanded them to judicial custody till Sep 19. The court Tuesday rejected their bail petitions and remanded them to CBI custody for six days.

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