In a major relief to senior IAS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre Y Srilakshmi, the Telangana High Court on Tuesday, November 8 quashed charges against her in the Obulapuram mining case filed by the CBI. The court gave her a clean chit in the decade-old case, in which she had spent several months in jail. The High Court quashed the additional chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) citing lack of evidence. The CBI court had last month dismissed her petition to quash the case and she had subsequently challenged the same in the high court.
The CBI, which has been investigating her role in the alleged illegal mining activity by the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) in Bellary reserve forest in Anantapur, had filed a charge sheet against her on March 30, 2012. The probe agency had alleged that Srilakshmi misused her office during her term from 2007 to 2009 as Secretary for Industries and Commerce in the government of then united Andhra Pradesh. It was alleged that she had misused powers vested in her by conspiring to grant illegal mining licenses to favour OMC. She was made the sixth accused in the case
The central agency had claimed that she connived with OMC promoter and mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy in granting mining leases in Anantapur. Earlier, the high court had twice dismissed her discharge petitions. In September 2021, it ruled that the CBI court was free to begin her trial.
Srilakshmi, a 1988 batch IAS officer, was arrested on November 28, 2011, by the CBI. She was subsequently sent to judicial custody and suspended by the government. She came out of jail in October 2012. In 2016, the government revoked her suspension and she joined the duty as an IAS officer allotted to Telangana. In 2020, Srilakshmi was inducted by the Andhra Pradesh government after she secured an order from the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
She was promoted as Special Chief Secretary last year. Tuesday's order by the High Court is expected to pave way for her promotion as Chief Secretary. Following allegations of large-scale illegal mining and irregularities in allotment of mining leases to OMC in Bellary, Reserve Forest area in Obulapuram and Malapanagudi villages of Anantapur district, the CBI had registered a case against OMC on December 7, 2009