$2.7-bn worth iron ore illegally exported: Karnataka Lokayukta news
29 July 2011

The report of the Karnataka Lokayukta, which has forced the reluctant resignation of chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, has also brought in focus the state government's inability to curb rampant illegal mining over the past several years.

Unfair practices have resulted in illegal shipping of 2.98 crore tonnes of iron ore valued at whopping Rs12,228 crore (approximmately $2.77 billion) between 2006 and 2010.

The report, based on investigations by a Lokayukta team headed by chief conservator of forests U V Singh, who is also the Lokayukta vigilance director, revealed how the controversial Reddy brothers G Karunakaran and G Janardhan, and their associate Sriramulu, looted the natural resources of the state.

The report, a copy of which was made available to the media by the Lokayukta office under Right to Information Act (RTI) on Thursday, also exposed the fact that a large quantity of iron ore was exported despite an official ban on such exports. About 17.58 lakh tonnes of iron ore was illegally exported from the state after 28 July 2010, when the government issued the ban order.

The 464-page report, which comprises observations and recommendations of Lokayukta justice Santosh Hegde, has 32 chapters.

There are separate chapters on dubious financial transactions involving chief minister Yeddyurappa and his family members, the Obalapuram Mining Company (OMC) owned by tourism minister Janardhan Reddy, Matha Minerals of housing minister V Somanna; the devious ways in which goons in Bellary used to mine and export iron ore, iron ore theft at Belekeri port and collapse of the administration in Bellary.

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$2.7-bn worth iron ore illegally exported: Karnataka Lokayukta