Spelling more trouble for BJP MLA G Janardhan Reddy, the CBI has registered five new cases in illegal iron ore exports worth Rs 2,500 crore and carried out searches at 17 locations including on the premises of associates of the jailed mining baron on Saturday.

After filing the five new FIRs and a preliminary enquiry, the teams of CBI officials carried out a co-ordinated search operation at 17 locations in Goa and Karnataka which included the premises of various mining firms and exporters.

The searches were spread across Bangalore, Karwar, Hospet and Goa at the premises of ILC industries, Dream Logistics, SB Logistics, Sri Malikaarjuna Shipping, Greentex Industries, Adani Enterprises and Salgaocar Mining Industries, Swastik Cements, Rajmahal and Softex.

A 10-member CBI team also searched the houses of Karapudi Mahesh, Swastik Nagaraj and Somasekhar, who runs a transport firm, all aides of Reddy, the sources said.

CBI sources alleged that over 50 lakh tonnes of iron ore was illegally exported and four exporters -ILC, SB Logistics, Dream Logistics and Shree Mallikarjun Shipping Pvt Ltd - were involved in half of these exports.

Adani has said in a statement that the company is a mere service provider and not in a position to check mandatory clearances/permissions/permits as it does not have the authority to do so.

“All the above activities were done on behalf of the exporters under the supervision and clearance of customs and port authorities,” it had said after a Supreme Court order.

In its directions to CBI to probe the scam, the Supreme Court had questioned the Karnataka government as to how law enforcing agencies, particularly the CB-CID, were unaware of illegal mining on such a huge scale in its own forest reserves and transportation of minerals to the Belekeri port by using around five lakh trucks over a period of 17 months.

(This article was published on September 15, 2012)
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