JSW Steel Declines After Illegal Mining Charges: Mumbai Mover

JSW Steel Ltd., India’s third-biggest producer, fell the most in more than a month after the Central Bureau of Investigation filed charges related to illegal mining against the company and two of its executives.

The shares fell 3.2 percent to 723.25 rupees as of 11:54 a.m. in Mumbai, poised for their biggest drop since Sept. 5. The stock had declined as much as 3.5 percent in early trading. The benchmark Sensitive Index was little changed.

JSW Chief Executive Officer Vinod Nowal and Vikas Sharma, a senior vice president, were named in the charges, two CBI officials said yesterday, requesting anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak on the subject. Charges were also filed against the then chief minister of Karnataka state and his relatives, the CBI said yesterday on its website.

“There is absolutely no illegality or immorality in what we have done,” Nowal said today in a phone interview. “We haven’t received any favors from anybody nor have we extended any favors to anyone. We’ll present our case strongly and expect the court to do justice.”

Nowal said he has yet to see the CBI charges and was speaking on the basis of the CBI statement on its website and various news reports.

The Supreme Court of India had asked the CBI to investigate after a court-appointed panel in an April 20 report recommended a probe, saying JSW procured illegally mined ore.

The court case followed a 25,000-page report in July by Santosh Hegde, Karnataka’s then anti-corruption ombudsman, citing breaches in mining norms that may have cost the southern state 160 billion rupees ($3 billion) in revenue losses.

The court panel also alleged that Adani Enterprises, India’s biggest importer of thermal coal, purchased and exported illegally mined iron ore from the state.

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