Lok Ayukta stated the forest officials allowed the transport of 6,28,032 million tonnes of iron-ore worth Rs1.92 crore without collecting forest department tax.
The former Lok Ayukta’s report on illegal mining has resulted in the suspension of forest department officials who have been accused of being involved in irregularities carried out by Associated Mining Company (AMC). The suspended include high-ranking officials, foresters and forest guards.
The Lok Ayukta report stated that the forest officials allowed the transport of 6,28,032 million tonnes of iron-ore worth Rs1.92 crore without collecting the forest department tax (FDT). The then deputy conservator of forest (DCF, Bellary division), S Muthaiah, issued form number 27 (a no-objection certificate) without collecting the FDT—a violation of Karnataka Forest Act, to favour AMC.
The report had called for disciplinary action against the officials for the loss incurred to the state exchequer.
The DCF issued 900 transit permits to AMC after the expiry of its lease period. The report held Muthaiah, assistant conservator of forest KK Poovaiah, range forest officer of Sandur Mahesh A Patil, and forester K Gangegowda responsible for granting the permits.
The DCF issued an order to depute additional 17 foresters on March 23, 2010, to issue form 27. The officers were called to the range office and forced to sign the forms, the report stated.