Rajasthan high court orders probe into allotment of mines to Jindal company

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Times News Network

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Monday ordered an inquiry into the alleged clandestine allotment of gold and iron ore mines to Jindal Saw Limited in nearly 20 sq/km area on periphery of Bhilwara town.

Justice Raghvendra S Rathore directed that an inquiry committee be constituted under deputy director general (DDG) and head of the department, Geological Survey of India’s western region, Jaipur. The order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Bhilwara Press Society and a bunch of other petitions filed by residents of five villages near Bhilwara town.

The bench also expressed serious concern over the fact that despite three chances granted to Union ministry of mines to file a response to the PIL, no reply was filed. The bench showed its displeasure observing, “We know the reasons as to why the government is evading the filing of reply. Though the bench is not inclined to accept such behaviour still in the interest of justice one last opportunity is granted for filing reply with advance copy to the counsel for petitioner.”

The PIL is seeking a CBI inquiry on the ground that the mining lease has been allotted at the behest of Congress Lok Sabha MP, Naveen Jindal, whose company JSPL is having technical collaboration with the beneficiary company. The PIL also seeks fresh public auction of the mining leases based on 2G scam case order rendered by Supreme Court.

“The bench has sought a report on the area under excavation out of the total allotted area of the two mining leases, nature of the land which is being exploited for mineral excavation ie, whether revenue land or private land and the names of the minerals that are being explored out of the crude stuff being taken out from the area under excavation,” said counsel for the petitioners.

The DDG, GSI has been asked to associate concerned persons in the inquiry committee along with one of the PIL petitioners Dinesh Sharma as its member and submit its report by October 17.

The allotment of two mining leases for gold and silver nearly 20 sq km area has been put to a challenge by Bhilwara Press Society and others through a PIL as also a large number of villagers have also approached the high court seeking quashing of acquisition proceedings of their land which is proposed to be used for mining purposes of Jindal company.

The high court had earlier in February this year called an explanation from the company and the state government wherein contradictory statements were made by the state government and company regarding the availability of gold and iron ore.

The Jindal company as also the state government denied availability of any gold and silver and admitted only low quality of iron ore in their response to the PIL which was perverse to the record and looking to the somersault by the state government Justice R S Rathore issued show cause notice to secretary mines to file a response and clarify the position. The secretary has been asked to file its response within a week and the matter has been posted again on September 16.

(Times News Network, 1 October 2013)

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