Gangaram Baderiya allegedly forged documents to grant a mining license to Janthakal Enterprises.

Did Ktaka IAS officer accept bribes in Janthakal mining scam to fund his sons lifestyle
news Mining Scam Friday, May 26, 2017 - 13:29

Ten days after Karnataka Principal Secretary, Revenue, Gangaram Baderiya was arrested in the Janthakal mining scam, the Lokayukta Special Investigation Team is probing whether the officer allegedly accepted bribes to fund his son’s lavish lifestyle.

The Mumbai-based Janthakal Enterprises, a mining company had in 2007 sent an application to the Mines and Geology Department for a mining license to extract iron ore in Chitradurga.

Initially, the application for mining rights was declined as the company was already blacklisted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for large scale environmental damage during the mining activities it had carried out in the past, an investigating officer said.

“In order to carry out the mining activity, Baderiya had forged two documents to grant the license to Janthakal. One of the forged document sent to MoEF is dated August 27, 2007 and another fake document approving the mining rights to the company was sent on February 14, 2008,” the officer said.

During his questioning, Bederiya also allegedly claimed that he was pressured by an encounter specialist attached with the Maharashtra Police and members of the underworld to obtain the approval for the mining rights.

The SIT sleuths have also tracked a Rs 10 lakh money trail, from ICICI Bank Richmond Town Branch to two of Baderiya’s banks accounts.

“The money was transferred to Baderiya’s HDFC Bank account in HSR Layout and another State Bank Of India, Cauvery Bhavan Branch. The money was transacted through cheque number 031949,” the officer added.

Pointing out that the Rs 250 crore scam had caused huge losses to the state exchequer, the investigating officer said that the company allegedly paid Rs 24 as royalty to the Karnataka government for one metric ton of iron ore and in turn sold it for Rs 1,500 per metric ton.

The SIT is also probing the role of former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for his alleged role in the scam as per the Supreme Court’s direction.

Baderia renewed the firm's mining lease for 40 years from 1985 to 2005 and from 2006-2025 on August 23, 2007 through two notifications.

The allegations in the case are that permission was granted to Janthakal Enterprises, a company owned by mining baron Vinod Goel, to extract iron ore on the basis of two forged letters of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

At the time (2007), Baderiya was director of the Mines and Geology Department and Kumaraswamy was the Chief Minister.

RTI activist TJ Abraham filed the complaint in December 2011 with the findings of the former state Ombudsman Justice N Santosh Hegde, who investigated the multi-crore mining scam in the state from 2001-2010 and indicted many politicians, ministers, lawmakers, officials and mining firms for their involvement in the irregularities.

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