New Delhi: The CBI conducted a search and seizure operation on Saturday at the residence of former Environment Minister in the previous Manmohan Singh led UPA Government Jayanthi Natarajan, who faces the charge of unlawfully diverting 55.59 hectares of forest land in Jharkhand for Dirsumburu iron ore mine in Kodolibad Reserve Forest of Saranda forest dvision in favour of Electrosteel Castings Limited (ECL).
Natarajan has been accused of criminal conspiracy, collusion with a private company and abuse of her position as Minister. The project which received in-principle approval when Natarajan was holding the Environment portfolio, had been rejected earlier by the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) when Jairam Ramesh was the Environment Minister.
ECL and its Managing Director have also been named in the FIR registered by the CBI in this matter.
On 13 February 2012, The Ministry of Environment and Forests (FC Division) had issued the order for the diversion of 55.79 ha of forest land (remaining 141.52 ha area for future use) in Kodolibad reserve forest (RF) for Dirsumburu Mine for mining of iron ore in favour of ECL in the Saranda Forest Division in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. The clearance came in response to the State Government’s letter of 17 April 2008 seeking prior approval of the Central Government under Section 2 of the Forests (Conservation) Act, 1980.
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