The Central Empowered Committee (CEC), appointed by the Supreme Court to probe illegal mining in Karnataka, has recommended an in-depth investigation into alleged illegal export of seized iron ore from the Belekeri port by shipping operators, including Adani Enterprises.
The investigation should be conducted by an independent investigation agency such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), it said in a fresh report to the apex court on April 27. The scope of investigation should include details of the iron ore brought to the port during the last two years and exported; exporter-wise and service provider-wise details of illegal iron ore received and exported and its value; and officials responsible for various associated illegalities and, thereafter, take appropriate action against them.
Adani Enterprises, a flagship firm of the Gujarat-based Adani Group, is one of the four port operators functioning out of the port on the west coast in Karnataka. All the four are said to be involved in illegally exporting 805,000 metric tonnes of iron ore from the port during June 2010. Even the final Lok Ayukta report, submitted to Karnataka government in July 2011, had mentioned about the irregularities conducted by all the four firms.
Other three firms involved in illegal exports are: Shree Mallikarjun Shipping Pvt Ltd, Salgaoncar Mining Industries Pvt Ltd and Rajmahal Silks.
The Dharwad-based non-government organisation, which is the main petitioner in the illegal mining case in the Supreme Court, had filed an interlocutory application in January 2012, seeking the CBI investigation into the illegal export of iron ore by these four firms, including Adani Enterprises. Subsequently, the apex court had directed the CEC to look into the allegations against Adani.
Lok Ayukta's report said: “Adani Enterprises has paid the bribes for getting undue favour for illegal exports. Action should be initiated against the company to cancel the lease granted at Belekeri port. The company should be black-listed.”