Accuses chief minister of complicity in the irregularities | business-standard
The state Congress unit today sprang into action after the Uliburu forest area mining scam surfaced a week ago and accused the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of complicity in the incident saying he was in charge of the forest and environment department when the irregularities happened. "When iron ore was being taken away from the Uliburu reserve forest area, the chief minister was in charge of forest and environment department. The vigilance probe is just eyewash because with home department under his control, the sleuths cannot charge the chief minister," said Jayadeba Jena, the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief, at a press meet here. Naveen Patnaik held the portfolio of forest and environment from 2004 to 2009. The Uliburu mining scam also took place during this period. Patnaik is currently in charge of home department and hence, impartial probe cannot be conducted by state vigilance, alleged Jena. The state vigilance team today started investigation into the Uliburu mining scam, estimated to be worth more than Rs 1,800 crore. The team was sent for field level investigation after Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik, on Saturday, ordered a probe into the matter, based on the state revenue minister's recommendation to this effect. Last week, Keonjhar Collector had submitted a report to the minister citing various irregularities in the iron ore mines owned by BK Mohanty.
The Congress said, the outcome of the vigilance probe is doubtful as the probes conducted by the department into allegations of illegal mining activities since 2009 has not yielded any significant result. The main opposition party also demanded that the government must find out the role of the then Joda deputy director of mines, district forest office and Tehsildar as the mining loot took place in the backward of Barbil town.
"The chief minister must order CBI probe into the matter if he thinks he is running a transparent government here," said Jena.