Will answer CBI on alleged forest land diversion: JSPL

New Delhi: Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL), in a statement mailed to IANS, said it would respond to the CBI's preliminary enquiry (PE) registered Friday over the company's alleged diversion of forest land.

The statement said: "We have only come to know of the preliminary enquiry through media reports. JSPL reiterates that we have always cooperated with the investigative agencies and will respond when we receive these queries from the investigative authorities."

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday registered a PE against the Naveen Jindal-led JSPL and some unidentified officials in the ministry of environment and forests in connection with diversion of forest land for mining between 2007 and 2013.

CBI sources confirmed the agency has registered a PE in the alleged irregularities in diverting land in Saranda forest of Jharkhand for the Ghatkuri iron ore mining lease to JSPL.

A source in the CBI said: "A proper First Information Report (FIR) will be registered soon."

The ministry of environment and forests, in a letter issued to the Jharkhand forest department in March, said its Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) will not consider any new proposal for forest land diversion in Saranda, other than projects that are already before FAC.

The state has been instructed to prepare a mine lease map and mine reclamation model for the area in GIS domain and commission a study on the impact of mining in the Saranda forest on the rivers Karo and Koina.

The Saranda forest is a dense forest in the hilly region of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. The forest and the adjoining areas form a part of the core zone of the Singhbhum Elephant Reserve.

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