CBI quizzes Home Minister Sabitha on Mining Scam!

HYDERABAD: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) questioned Andhra Pradesh Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy in connection with an illegal mining case involving former Karnataka minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy, sources said.

A team of CBI officials Friday night questioned the minister in her office for two hours till 11 p.m., sources said.

The investigating agency quizzed Sabita regarding the mining leases given to Janardhana’s Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), allegedly involved in illegal mining in Anantapur district bordering Karnataka.

Sabita was minister for mines in Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s cabinet from 2004 to 2009, when OMC was granted leases and permits for iron ore mining.

The home minister was questioned soon after CBI once again grilled Indian Administrative Service officer Srilakshmi for four hours at its office. She was the mining secretary when OMC was granted leases.

The federal agency had already questioned Srilakshmi and former director of mines and geology V.D. Rajagopal in connection with the alleged violation of rules for granting mining leases to OMC.

Janardhana, who owns OMC, and his brother-in-law and OMC Managing Director Srinivasa Reddy are already lodged at Chanchalguda Central Jail here. They were arrested by CBI Sep 5 from Bellary in Karnataka.

By questioning Sabita and Sriklakshmi, the CBI has stepped up investigations into the illegal mining case registered in 2009.

CBI Joint Director V.V. Lakshminarayana had said Oct 27 that they would soon file the chargesheet in the case.

The investigating agency had already told the special court here that the illegal mining was carried out in collusion with several public servants.(IANS)

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