Record 600 Officials Face Corruption Charges Over Illegal Mining In Karnataka


BANGALORE – India’s battle against corruption and for accountability from its huge bureaucracy is set to get a boost as the Karnataka government prepares to punish over 600 officials, a record for the country, over illegal mining.

Among those facing suspension and other disciplinary actions are three officers of the highly-prized Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and four from the Indian Forest Service (IFS), official sources told IANS on Thursday.

The Karnataka cabinet is meeting on Friday to act on the recommendation of an official panel it set up to study the findings of the Lokayukta (ombudsman) on the complicity of these officials in the massive illegal iron ore mining in the state.

The then Lokayukta, N Santosh Hegde, submitted his report July 27 and the government has to accept or reject it within three months. Hegde’s term ended on August 2.

The state government informed the Lokayukta on Wednesday that its official panel has finalised a plan of action on the illegal mining report and it will be considered by the Cabinet on Friday. Hegde had recommended action against 787 officials, but the official panel headed by additional chief secretary K Jairaj has pruned the list to 617 officials, the sources said.

The officials belong to various state departments such as mining, forest, revenue and transport.

This will perhaps be the first time in India that such a large number of officials will face disciplinary action for a single crime – of abetting/facilitating massive illegal iron ore mining that is estimated to have cost the state treasury billions of rupees in revenue.

The action will come against the backdrop of heightening war of words between the central government and civil society groups over enactment of tougher laws and setting up massively empowered institution to curb growing corruption in the country.

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