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Illegal mining: Karnataka minister on the defensive

November 21, 2009 00:38 IST

Karnataka Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy on Friday night said the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee's report -- describing as 'illegal' the mining of iron ore by the Obulapuram Mining Company owned by him in Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border -- was not that of the apex court.

"The report of the CEC is without jurisdiction since the Supreme Court has not directed the CEC to submit such a report and the CEC is not even a party to the writ petition," Reddy told NDTV.

He said the report by the CEC is an 'ex parte report' since the Obulapuram Mining Company "was never heard before making the report". Asked if the company was going to stop mining activities in the area, Reddy said it was for the apex court to direct them on whether to stop mining.

He said unless observations and recommendations by the CEC are approved by the Supreme Court, they cannot be called an order of the apex court. Contradicting Reddy's claims, the CEC has said the Obulapuram Mining Company owned by him was carrying out illegal mining of iron ore in the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border.

The CEC recommended to the Supreme Court that all mining activity in the region be suspended immediately till the boundaries of mining leases are determined and fixed by an independent agency.

The CEC submitted the report on Thursday on the orders of the apex court to inquire into the matter, based on a writ petition filed by Tapal Ganesh of Bellary, against the OMC, over the illegal activity in violation of the Forest Conservation Act.

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