Monday, November 29, 1999

SC stops BIOP from exporting iron ore

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New Delhi, June 16 (PTI) The Supreme Court today stopped S K Modi group-controlled Bellary Iron Ores from exporting 1.03 lakh tonnes of processed iron ores from its stockyard. The apex court also stayed the Andhra Pradesh High Court order, which had allowed the export-oriented unit of Bellary Iron Ores to export the ore after depositing Rs 1.5 crore with the state government. A vacation bench comprising Justices Deepak Verma and K S Radhakrishnan also directed the company to file a reply. The bench has given a direction to club the matter along with other cases related to alleged illegal mining in the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh, which are being heard by a special forest bench headed by the Chief Justice. The court''s order came over a petition filed by the Andhra Pradesh state government challenging the order of the high court allowing BIOP to transport the ore. During the proceedings, Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi, representing the state government, submitted that the entire stock of BIOP appears to be illegally mined. He further submitted that the state government had on November, 2009, suspended the mining lease of six firms, including Reddy brothers-owned Obalapuram Mining Company and BIOP, after receiving the report of the Central Empowered Committee on alleged encroachment and illegal mining in the Bellary Reserve Forest Area. This was opposed by senior advocate U U Lalit, appearing for the S K Modi group firm, who submitted that the stock was purchased by other firms. He further submitted that its EOU is a different entity from BIOP. Lalit further contended that the firm has already paid royalty to the state government and the whole stock was of processed ore and would be oxidised if there was a delay in export, causing a loss for the firm. Rebuffing the contention, Tripathi submitted that the EOU is nothing but a part of the umbrella company of BIOP and by merely paying royalty, the government can not allow it to export the stock, which appears to be illegally mined. BIOP had in December last year approached the government seeking permission to transport 1.03 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore and claimed that it belonged to its 100 per cent Export-Oriented Unit (EOU). It had also submitted purchase bills and excise documents to authenticate its claim that it had not mined the said ore, but purchased it from Karnataka. However, the state government found discrepancies after verification of documents and denied permission.

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