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A Supreme Court-appointed panel has found large-scale illegal mining in Karnataka, particularly in the state’s iron-ore rich Bellary district.The illegal activity was taking place in connivance with officials, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) said in its report submitted to the court in New Delhi Friday.

The CEC also found that between 2003 and 2010, over 30 million tonnes of iron ore had been exported from Karnataka without valid permits.

As the CEC gave its report to the apex court, a well-known freedom fighter in Karnataka, H.S. Doreswamy, filed a petition in the high court in Bangalore for a probe by a central agency into illegal mining in the state.

Doreswamy, 91, said in his public suit that the state government has failed to stop illegal mining and a probe by a central agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was necessary to bring out the truth.

Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice A.S. Bopanna posted the petition for June 3 as the apex court was hearing a petition on the issue of illegal mining in Karnataka.

The apex court set up the CEC in February following a petition by a not-for-profit organisation, Samaj Parivartan Samudaya, saying that illegal mining was rampant in Karnataka even in reserved forest areas.

The Samudaya said illegal mining had led to encroachment of over 1,100 hectares of forest land in Karnataka.

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