Illegal mining of iron ore appears to have settled in the Ballari district. However, the fortunes made during the peak period of illegal mining continue to create difficulties in the politics of Ballari and Vijaynagara.
Investigators from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), who are looking into the Ballari illegal mining scandal, claimed that K Mahesh alias Kharadapudi Mahesh and his brothers were one of the accused and were accountable for a loss of Rs 103.85 crore to the state exchequer through the alleged illegal practice.
15 years prior, the Ballari illegal mining scheme had shaken the state and brought numerous political heavyweights to their knees. The fraud first surfaced in 2010, and the CBI was given the investigation in 2013. To look into the situation, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was established.
K Mahesh was a major player, managing the movement of ore from its source to ports in Goa, Mangaluru, and Belekeri. He was a close friend and colleague of former BJP minister G Janardhana Reddy. Currently, ED has temporarily attached Mahesh’s, his brothers’, and other family members’ assets, valued at about Rs 54 crore.
According to a press statement from the ED, the primary defendant K Mahesh and his brothers, K Govindaraj, K Sadashiva, and K Kumar, moved and sold illegally extracted iron ore with the assistance of their friends and business partners for a total of Rs 62.92 crore.