The High Court of Karnataka has declined to quash the cognisance of offences taken by a special court against the directors and the partners of various firms/companies in illegal sale and transportation of iron ore based on the charge sheets filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Lokyukta police.
Justice John Michael Cunha passed the order while dismissing separate petitions filed by B.S. Purandara Singh, B.P. Anand Kumar alias Anand Singh of S.B. Minerals, Ballari, and several others belonging to different firms/companies engaged in iron ore business.
The petitioners had questioned charge sheets filed by the SIT, which was authorised to probe illegal mining cases involving quantum of ore less than 50,000 tonnes and the cognisance of offences taken against them during 2016-17 by the special court for Lokayukta cases. The cases involving more than 50,000 tonnes were probed by CBI as per the Supreme Court’s directions. “The orders of cognizance and the consequent orders of summons issued by the special judge do not suffer from any error or illegality vitiating the proceedings pending against the petitioners,” the High Court observed.
On contentions of some of the petitioners that they had no role in business transaction of their companies, the High Court observed that “when camouflaged transactions are carried on behind the legal façade, court may lift this veil and look behind the artificial personality of the company and identify the real personalities or natural persons operating behind the veil”.
“The facts and circumstances disclosed in the material collected by investigating officer undoubtedly point out that the petitioner ingeniously has been operating behind the cover of firm by entering into conspiracy with other accused with intent to make unlawful gain making out the ingredients of offence under sections 420 and 120B of IPC,” the High Court observed.
The other petitioner-accused persons whose petitions were dismissed were: Vasudev Srivatsa of Nivya Traders, Bengaluru; K. Somashekhar, K. Chandrashekar and Vishwanatha C. Hiremath and Jeera Jabbanna of M/s ILC Industries, Ballari; Raj Kumar Dupar of Orissa, Pradeep S. Wodeyar and Lakshinarayana Gubba of Canara Overseas Ltd, Bengaluru; H. Sajjad Wahab and H. Abdul Wahab of S.B. Minerals, M.K. Ravindra of M.K. Engineering Corporation, Hospet, and Riya S. Nair of Clariya Marketing Services Pvt. Ltd.