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Andhra illegal mining: CBI arrests ex-official
VD Rajagopal, ex-director of mines allegedly favoured Janardhana Reddy's firm in granting iron ore mining licences...
HYDERABAD: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a former Andhra Pradesh government official in connection with the illegal mining case involving former Karnataka minister G. Janardhana Reddy's mining firm, it announced Sunday.
The CBI Saturday night arrested V.D. Rajagopal who as then director of mines allegedly favoured Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) by granting leases for iron ore mining in Anantapur district bordering Karnataka.
The former official was taken into custody after he was questioned till late Saturday night at the CBI office here.
Rajagopal was produced before a magistrate at his residence. The magistrate directed the CBI to present him Monday before the special court hearing CBI cases. The former official was then taken back to the CBI office where he was being questioned.
The investigating agency sleuths also searched Rajagopal's residence and seized some documents.
He is the third accused to be arrested in the case registered by the CBI against OMC in 2009.
The investigating agency had arrested Janardhana Reddy, and his brother-in-law and OMC managing director B.V. Srinivas Reddy from Bellary in Karnataka Sep 5. They are lodged at Chanchalguda Central Jail here.
Rajagopal was questioned several times by the CBI in the last two months regarding his role in granting leases to OMC and other mining companies in violation of rules. He was director mines from 2005 to 2010.
The CBI officials also reportedly questioned him in connection with the alleged illegal assets of YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.
The former official allegedly played a key role in granting limestone mining leases to Penna Cements, which invested in Jaganmohan Reddy's Jagati Publications. Jaganmohan Reddy's father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was then the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.
On Dec 7, 2009, the CBI had registered a case of cheating, criminal conspiracy, theft and criminal trespass against OMC and others.
They were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Prevention of Corruption Act, Indian Forest Act and Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.
The CBI has already told the special court hearing the CBI cases that it was probing the role of public servants who were hand in glove with the OMC. It later added IPC sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 469 (forgery).
After arresting Rajagopal, the CBI is now likely to arrest other officials who allegedly colluded with OMC in granting the licences.
The investigating agency is probing the role of former mines secretary and Indian Administrative Service (IAS) official Y. Sri Lakshmi.
It has already questioned her as also then minister for mines Sabita Indra Reddy, who is now the home minister.
The CBI also questioned Jaganmohan Reddy regarding his alleged business links with Janardhana Reddy and the investments made by the latter in his companies.