Mines and geology department names 6 officers in illegal mining case

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BANGALORE: In the wake of CBI arrest of two former bureaucrats and two MLAs in the illegal iron ore mining cases, mines and geology department has been one of the first to initiate action against officials involved in the matter.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah had directed individual departments, whose officers have been named in former Justice Santosh K Hegde’s report on illegal mining, to initiate internal inquiry and take action. A statement issued by the mines and geology department said six of its top officials, some retired from the services, were involved.

The department has named six of its former directors and joint directors — ME Shivalingamurthy, Gangaram Baderia and KS Prabhakar (all three IAS officers), Basappa Reddy, DR Veeranna and HM Qayum Ali – of being involved in 20 different cases of illegal mining over the past six years in the state. Reddy retired as the department’s director, while Veeranna and Ali were additional directors. All these officers are among the 72 officials and employees in the department named in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

Director of mines and geology S Shankarnarayana told TOI that a report naming all the officials had been sent to the department’s secretary, Tushar Girinath, last week. “The same had been submitted to the chief secretary,” Tushar confirmed.

The action-taken report by the department was prepared following Siddaramaiah’s directive to speed up the process against the accused. While Shivalingamurthy is accused of being involved in former minister G Janardhan Reddy’s mining company, Baderia’s name figures in three cases of corruption and involvement in abetting illegal mining.

The report also speaks about Rs 2.46 crore distributed as bribe to over 20 officials in the mines and geology department by Kharadapudi Mahesh, an associate of Reddy. Inquiry against 25 officials belonging to public works, ports and inland water transport department, including its present director of ports Capt R Mohan and Capt C Swamy, a former port officer, is underway.

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