Plea to recover ill-gotten wealth from miners rejected

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SUPREMENew Delhi, August 26:The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea made by NGO Samaja Parivartana Samudaya seeking direction to collect wealth created by miners through illegal iron ore mining in Karnataka’s Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts.  

A three-judge forest bench presided over by Justice A K Patnaik refused to entertain the interlocutory application,  also seeking a direction to the CBI to investigate lessees belonging to categories ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C.’

The court asked advocate Prashant Bhushan to file a review petition instead of filing an application. In its verdict, the apex court had on April 18 lifted the embargo on grant of fresh leases for iron ore mines in Karnataka’s three districts, while allowing reopening of ‘A’ and ‘B’ category of mines.

The court had then accepted the recommendation made by the Central Empowered Committee cancelling the lease of 49 ‘C’ category iron ore mines. The reopening of ‘A’ and ‘B’ category mines was subject to strict conditions.

In its fresh plea, the petitioner NGO wanted the court to direct determination of damages caused to public exchequer for illegal extraction of iron ore. It contended that the final judgment of the court was silent on the issue of investigations.

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