At a time when both party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi are leaving no stone unturned to push Modi government to margin by raising number of emotive issues, this will prove to be a big setback for them.
Reportedly, CBI has arrested party MLA Anil Lad for allegedly exporting iron ore illegally from Belikere port. The agency has been investigating the case on a Supreme Court order which had appointed the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) into the issue.
On asking about the arrest of the MLA, representing Ballari city, a CBI spokesperson said, "Yes, Anil Lad has been arrested by our officials after he was summoned for interrogation at our headquarters in Bengaluru. He is being accused of exporting iron ore illegally from Belikere port".
CBI officials had been inspecting the mining area and stockyard of a company in Ballari district of which Lad is a partner, in connection with the alleged scam.
Scam was exposed by former Lokayukta
The illegal export of iron ore from Belikeri port in Karnataka's Uttara Kannada district was exposed by former Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde, who in his report had said that 7.74 million tonnes of iron ore were illegally exported between 2006-2007 and 2010-11, causing huge loss to the exchequer.
CBI had earlier arrested BJP MLA Anand Singh in October 2013 for his alleged role in the case and he was recently released on bail.
However, he was again arrested in April this year this time by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Karnataka Lokayukta, in connection with the mining case. He was accused of illegaly supplying iron ore through his company to another firm.
CBI had earlier arrested Anand Singh (BJP), B Nagendra and Satish Sail, both independents, in connection with the scam.
While three were out on bail, the Special Investigating Team of Karnataka Lokayukta arrested Singh and Nagendra in April this year.
Sail, however, was released from jail on bail. He was arrested by CBI for illegaly transport of ore from Belekeri port on September 20, 2013 and sent to Parapanna Agrahara Jail din Bengaluru.
(With inputs from PTI)