Bellary: Less than 48 hours after the Supreme Court ordered all mining and transportation of iron ore in Bellary to be stopped, nearly 10,000 tonnes of the ore was seized from the district in four different raids.
The case just highlights how the Supreme Court's order is still being defied brazenly not just by the Gali Reddy brothers, but by other big corporates as well.
Late on Saturday, 49 vehicles belonging to the Bellary Iron Ore Corporation, owned by the Gali Reddy family, were seized.
Next to be seized were two rakes each of 3724 tonnes being supplied to the Jindal plant and Janki Iron and Steel. Another dump of 1100 tonnes was also seized.
NDTV's investigation found out that at a checkpost in Bellary, around 150 vehicles carrying the ore had passed through after the apex court's order. It would seem officials on the ground were either unaware or there was some connivance.
When asked about the Supreme Court order on the mining and transportation ban, a truck driver said, "No. We went to load the ore. The forest official signed and gave the permit and then we moved. When we came to unload, they said it is illegal and seized the vehicle."
The blatant violation of rules and orders in fact prompted Karnataka's Lokayukta or Ombudsman Justice Santosh Hedge to call the district "the Republic of Bellary."
"This shows the arrogance of the officials even after the Supreme Court ban. This is why I call it the republic of Bellary...They have their own laws. This shows how the mining industry functions. It is definitely shocking. One official was quoted saying he did not know anything about the Supreme Court ban. You will be ignorant if you want to be ignorant," he said.