Bellary (Karnataka), Sep 9 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar Sunday said his
government will "fully cooperate" with CBI in its probe into massive illegal export of iron ore from the state which took place during his predecessor B.S. Yeddyurappa's regime. "We will fully co-operate with the CBI in the probe into the Belekeri iron ore scam," Shettar, the third Bharatiya Janata Party leader to head the state after Yeddyurappa, told reporters in this iron-ore rich north Karnataka district, about 300 km from Bangalore. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the scam was ordered by Friday by the Supreme Court which slammed the Karnataka government for its failure to prevent illegal extraction and export of 50.7 lakh tonnes of iron ore from the state's forest areas from January 2009 to May 2010. The ore was exported from the small port of Belekeri in north Karnataka district of Uttara Kannada, about 450 km from Bangalore. The port is operated by the state government, unlike major ports which are administered by the central government. The illegal export from the port was first brought to light in the middle of 2010 by the then Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde, whose report on massive mining scam resulted in Yeddyurappa losing chief ministership in July last year. The apex court directive for CBI probe followed recommendation of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) set up by it to investigate illegal mining in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. In his report on illegal export from Belekeri, Hegde had said 77.38 lakh tonnes of iron ore was illegally exported between 2006-2007 and 2010-2011. He had said that bribe was paid to facilitate illegal export. He found various forms of bribe payment: "Ship-wise fixed amount, an amount in proportion to quantity exported, month-wise fixed amount, lump sum amount at regular periods, amounts once in a while."