The Lokayukta special court has remanded IAS officer Gangaram Baderiya in police custody till May 18.

Baderiya, principal secretary, (Bhoomi and UPOR), Revenue Department was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Monday, for his alleged involvement in the Janthakal Enterprises illegal mining case.

As the then director of mines and geology department, Baderiya had allegedly forged letters of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) granting permission to Janthaka Enterprises to lift iron ore from Chitradurga. 

Vinod Goel of the mining company was arrested by the SIT in 2015, in this connection. Investigations had established that Goel had issued a cheque of Rs 10 lakh in the name of Gagan Baderiya (Baderiya’s son), as a kickback, in return for the favour.

Former chief minister, H D Kumaraswamy’s name has been dragged in this case too (aside from the other illegal mining cases in the Lokayukta report). 

It is alleged that in 2007, Baderiya had written to his superior - commissioner mines and geology, stating that there was immense pressure from the chief minister (Kumaraswamy) to permit Janthakal Enterprises to lift the ore.

Baderiya’s arrest follows the March 29 ruling of the Supreme Court, which had ordered SIT to probe as many as 11 senior officers, including Baderiya, and former chief ministers Kumaraswamy and Dharam Singh, and submit a report within three months.

Baderiya’s arrest may spell doom to Kumaraswamy if SIT succeeds in establishing the JD(S) leader’s role in the same.

JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda on Monday defended his son H D Kumaraswamy when his reaction was sought over Baderiya’s arrest. He said that Justice Santhosh Hegde (former Lokayukta) himself has said that there is no criminal offence against H D Kumaraswamy. 

“It has also been established that there was no illegal mining in the state during Kumaraswamy’s tenure, nor were there any losses incurred,” he added.