PMO behind Rajasthan mining bust
ACB officials revealed that the mine-bribery scam in Rajasthan had been carried out directly under PMO's orders and had been reported to BJP supremo Amit Shah. The ACB was acting on the state's mining lobby report that spoke of fleecing by mining officials in Rajasthan. The operation was kept secret from the state government as well as Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje.
Rajasthan officials arrested in mines bribery scam
An anti-corruption bureau (ACB) special team in Rajasthan detained 6 people, including top government officials, in a mining bribery case. Ashok Singhvi, a 1983 batch IAS officer was arrested for his alleged involvement in the case and was taken for further interrogations based on the evidence. ACB's two teams raided different places in Udaipur and Bhilwara and found approximate Rs.4 crore worth cash.
Money covertly exchanging hands
The mines department had closed down mines following a SC order on 8 July 2015 for operating without environmental clearance. The Rs.2.55 crore bribe given to officer Singhvi was by one Sher Khan so as to re-start his mine. Khan had allegedly sent the money to a chartered accountant which was transferred to mines department's middleman Sanjay Sethi and then sent to Singhvi.
Gold, silver part of the mining bribe
Apart from the Rs.4 crore uncovered by the ACB, they also found 30-35 kgs of silver and 45 kg gold at Singhvi's place and 4.45 kg silver and 19 kg gold at Pankaj Gehlot's (another incriminated officer) house.
Complaints from mine owners led to the crackdown
Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria told the media that the Rajasthan bribery case had been cracked due to the complaints from mine owners highlighting irregularities in mining license cancellations and revivals. He congratulated the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for following the leads and carrying out the operations discreetly. The trail following the complaints had led to Principal Secretary of Mines Department- Ashok Singhvi.
Sachin Pilot demands a judicial probe
Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot commanded a judicial probe into the scandal affecting the state's mining department. Talking on the scam he said that corruption could not have been perpetrated without "patronage from the government". The Congress leader also directed the probe towards Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, with whom the arrested officer had alleged close affiliations.