The Enforcement Directorate (ED)'s Bengaluru Zonal Office has attached assets worth Rs 5.21 crore belonging to Mineral Enterprises Ltd and its officials in a case related to illegal mining under the provisions of Prevention of Money-laundering Act, officials said on Sunday.
The assets attached are in the form of six immovable properties owned by the accused persons, the official said.
The ED initiated an investigation on the basis of an FIR registered by the Special Investigation Team, and Karnataka Lokayukta, Bengaluru against Mineral Enterprises Ltd., unknown government employees and other unknown persons under various sections of the Mines and Minerals Development Regulation Act, 1957 and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on the basis of directions issued by Supreme Court of India.
"The case pertains to the trading of illegally mined iron ore by various traders. During investigation under PMLA, it has been noticed that iron ore has been illegally mined, transported and traded without valid permits which caused loss to the exchequer," the official said.
The federal agency officials further said that It has also been noticed that the source of such illegal iron ore is two mines owned by S.B Minerals having partners - BP Anand Kumar, Panduranga Singh and Gopal Singh, one mine owned by Shanthlakshmi and J Mithyleswar and one mine owned by Bharat Mines and Minerals having partners BMM Ispat Ltd and Dinesh Kumar Singhi.
Earlier, the Centrally Empowered Committee appointed by the Supreme Court during its survey of mining leases in the state of Karnataka found gross illegalities with respect to these four mines and kept them in C Category and on the basis of its recommendation, the top court had cancelled their licenses.
"Investigation under PMLA has established that the accused have caused wrongful loss to the Government exchequer and corresponding wrongful gain to themselves," said the officials.
Further investigation is under progress.
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