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Commission to probe illegal mining

Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI: The Centre has set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into cases of illegal mining of coal, iron ore and manganese across the country. The decision seems to be a fallout of the cases involving the controversial Reddy brothers in Karnataka and some multinational companies.

Highly placed sources said the decision was taken by a Cabinet meeting on Monday, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The inquiry will cover the most affected States of Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Orissa.

The Commission has been asked to submit its report in 18 months. But it will also submit interim reports to the Cabinet.

“The Commission will initially have the mandate for investigating cases of illegal mining of iron ore and manganese, and later its mandate could be extended for covering cases of illegal coal extraction too,” a senior official said. The sources said the Commission could be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or High Court. The Prime Minister will take a decision soon.

The decision on a probe follows the recent controversies surrounding the Reddy brothers in Karnataka who have been accused of massive illegal mining of iron ore.

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