November 24, 2020

Widespread Graft Is Found in India’s Iron Ore Mining

“In the illegal mining and irregularities committed in the export of iron ore, we have found the involvement of some 100 mining companies, about 600 officials, powerful politicians including the chief minister,” Santosh Hegde, a retired Supreme Court justice who led the investigation, said at a news conference in Bangalore, the state’s capital.

Karnataka and the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh have large reserves of iron ore, but much of it is believed to be mined illegally as the price of the ore, which is in demand in China, India and other developing economies in Asia, has soared. Investigators say much of the Indian ore was illegally shipped to China.

The report, which filled two trunks and included more than 25,000 pages of annexes, details the latest in a series of corruption scandals that have rocked India and unleashed public anger at a political and business class that seem to collude for their own benefit. Previous scandals, involving allocation of the mobile phone spectrum and the shoddy planning for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, have landed several senior politicians in jail awaiting criminal trials.

The mining report directly implicated Karnataka’s chief minister, B. S. Yeddyurappa, saying that he had profited from the sale of a piece of land at an inflated price, and that a trust controlled by his family had received $2 million from a mining company.

As the top official in the only southern state controlled by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr. Yeddyurappa, who was elected in 2008, is an important figure to a political party trying to recover from a devastating defeat in the 2009 parliamentary elections. He was summoned to New Delhi on Wednesday to meet with top party officials, who will have to decide whether he can remain in office.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=6380897b49c8fdf11f849969cd692479

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