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Mining in Andhra: SC seeks reply on plea for court-monitored probe

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre's response on a plea seeking a court-monitored SIT or CBI probe into the alleged illegal mining being carried out by a company in Andhra Pradesh.

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A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta issued notices to the ministries of Environment and Forests and Mines, the Department of Atomic Energy, the Andhra Pradesh government and the company, seeking their responses on the plea and posted it for hearing after three weeks.

In the plea filed by E A S Sharma, a former secretary to the union government, it has been alleged that the Trimex Group of Industries was involved in illegal and unlawful activities, including mining and export of various minerals such as Monazite, which is a prescribed substance as per the notifications issued under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962.

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"Monazite, being a prescribed mineral as per the list of prescibed substances issued by Department of Atomic Energy, is neither allowed to be exported, nor sold by private companies.

"The Vigilance Report had found huge quantity of 9750 MT of Monazite was mined and stored by Trimex Industries in pits under their processing plant. However, till date Central Government (Department of Atomic Energy) has not taken any action to recover the same," the plea, filed through advocates Prashant Bhushan and Pranav Sachdeva, said.

It has also sought a direction to the Centre and Andhra Pradesh government to immediately stop mining by Trimex Group.

Claiming that such illegal mining has destroyed environment and tree cover of the region, the plea also sought termination of mining licence of Trimex Group in the state for violating various laws and sought a probe into the alleged illegal mining in the area.

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It also sought a direction to the authorities to recover from the company the allegedly illegally accumulated wealth through illegal mining and related activity and launch prosecutions under sections of the 1957 Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.

The money recovered should be used for the restoration of environment, it demanded.



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