The Andhra Pradesh government has entrusted the investigation into 18 cases of illegal limestone mining in Dachepalli and Piduguralla mandals of Guntur district, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). This includes cases where former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA Yarapathineni Srinivasa Rao is allegedly involved.
A Government Order (GO) 172 has been issued in this regard.
This comes months after the Hyderabad High Court while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by YSRCP leader and ex-MLC TGV Krishna Reddy, had asked the state government to take a decision on handing over the cases to a central agency.
It was in August last year that the allegations of illegal limestone mining in Guntur district had surfaced, with the YSRCP, which was in the opposition at the time, stepping up protests demanding a probe.
The PIL was also filed in court, following which notices were issued to Srinivasa Rao, Principal Secretaries of the Revenue and Mines departments, the District Collector and the Police Superintendents of Guntur Urban and Guntur Rural.
The YSRCP leader had also submitted imagery as evidence, which reportedly showed that one crore metric tonnes worth of mining had taken place illegally since 2014.
On the court's orders, the TDP government had ordered for a probe by the Crime Investigation Department (CID). The CID submitted its final report to the court, where it also reportedly said that witnesses had deposed that witnesses had named the TDP leader and said that he was complicit in the illegal mining.
At the time, the YSRCP had cried foul over the investigation being handed over to the state unit of the CID and demanded that the probe must be done by a central agency.
"Every day, they exported limestone in thousands of lorries. When this big a scam is unfolding, should we assume that no one knows about it? If MLA to Chinababu (Nara Lokesh) and Pedababu (Chandrababu Naidu) were not part of this looting, would this have happened? This is only one of many lootings in the state," Jagan had said last year.