Adani Enteriprises denies involvement in illegal export of iron ore

Adani Enterprises said yesterday that it did not own or operate any iron ore mine in any part of the country, including Karnataka. The firm was responding to reports about the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) recommendation for a probe into the alleged illegal export of seized iron ore from the Belekeri port by shipping operators, including Adani Enterprises.

The Supreme Court had appointed the CEC to probe into the illegal mining in Karnataka on an interlocutory application by a Dharwad-based non-government organisation in January 2012 which called for an investigation by the CBI into the illegal export of iron ore by four firms, including Adani Enterprises.

"Adani Enterprises did not and does not own or operate any iron ore mine in Karnataka or any other part of the country. It has never undertaken any such mining activity. Hence, company's involvement in illegal mining does not arise at all," Adani Group spokesperson said in a statement yesterday.

The company further added it was a provider of stevedoring services at Belekeri Port and its responsibility or role was limited only to providing port services for the export of iron ore (See: CEC blasts Karnataka's sudden transfer of lokayukta police).

"To obtain clearances, permissions or permits and transportation of iron ore from mines till the port were the responsibility of miners, traders and exporters. Adani as a service provider did not have a mandate or authority to check such clearances, permissions or permits," the spokesperson said. He added, "Iron ore exports were carried out under the supervision of relevant port and custom authorities."

Apart from Adani, the firms allegedly involved in illegally exporting 8.5 lakh MT of iron ore from the port during June are Shree Mallikarjun Shipping, Salgaoncar Mining Industries and Rajmahal Silks.

"The company will file its response to the CEC report and will present its case at the appropriate time before the Supreme Court. We are confident that the truth will prevail and our non-involvement in any such activity will be proved," the spokesperson added.

In the case involving export of iron ore from the Krishnapatnam port and the Chennai port after the government of Karnataka banned the export of iron ore, the CEC had favoured setting up of an ''interdepartmental team of officers on full-time basis'' for undertaking detailed investigation and follow-up action particularly into the illegal export of iron ore, if any, and the lessees, stockyards, suppliers, transporters, exporters and officials involved in such illegalities.