Odisha mining scam; why CBI enquiry is necessary?

April 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm 1 comment

Following is a article from http://hindtoday.com written by Dr. Prasanna Mishra:

Many would recollect the incident more than two years ago when a few very renowned contractors of the state were arrested allegedly for hatching a conspiracy to liquidate someone. Many people talked of the diabolical plot that a conspiracy was being hatched in a well-known hotel of Bhubaneswar and the driver of a waiting vehicle near the hotel laid bare this sensational information on the basis of which these  wellknown,wealthy and influential persons were arrested. They were in jail for months before they could secure bail. The gullible ones in our society clapped and were appreciative of the objectivity of the government in upholding the majesty of law. They realised that the law was taking its course. What happened to the sensational case ultimately does not seem to be relevant to these people now. The short point I am trying to make here is to underline the criminal liability for conspiring to commit a crime. The government was so worried that the contractors were arrested so swiftly.

 Let us now see what is happening in case of the mining scam of mind-blowing proportion in our state. The state vigilance organisation is looking into the matter. A few officials who cannot be, because of their profession, as fleet-footed as Das Mohapatras and were poor sitting ducks were arrested. The expeditions of the vigilance organisation are being reported in the Press. Names roll out—Das Mohapatra, Patnaik, and now Rungta. Not a word about conspirators, the political heavyweights, without whose patronage loot of this magnitude would not be going on day in and out for years. Wealth of our motherland was being plundered and yet an enquiry would not pursue the conspirators! Are these elements more important to the present government than the wealth of our state? Can the state apparatus be independent enough to pin down the conspirators or the accomplices? The political persons who were in charge of the Mining Department continue without suffering any political punishment. The political persons who were in charge of Forest and Commercial Tax organisation also have not been affected. Administrative officials of these Departments do not seem to have been taken to task. Police officials also do not get any punishment. If these elements continue in their positions, and if the political patrons also continue to enjoy status, would it be possible for any state government agency to take any probe to its logical conclusion?

 Some of the firms being investigated or would be brought under investigation could have their head office not in Orissa. State vigilance organisation would be handicapped in gaining immediate access to those offices and important papers available there. Stolen minerals could have been exported and to get at the truth some exporters may have to be examined along with papers available with Railways; Ports; Customs authorities etc. Indian Bureau of Mines is the organisation of Government of India that has direct interface with mines for the working plans of every mine. If the mining plan for a mine was for extraction of, say, one lakh tonnes of iron ore in 2008-09 but actually the mine was exploited that year more intensively in view of a buoyant market and five lakh tonnes of iron ore was extracted, then the concerned officials of the Indian Bureau need to be examined to find out how this was allowed or ignored. Such irregularity also brings in the Directorate of Mines Safety. Very often reckless mining leads to accidents or generates conditions that endanger safety. Whether the concerned officials of the Directorate of Mine Safety performed their duty needs to be brought under scanner. On many occasions, additional mining operations would be possible by breaking forest areas. This cannot be done unless Government of India permits deforestation. This raises the role of the officials of Ministry of Forest and Environment.So far, administrative action in the nature of suspension has been taken against a few officials of the Mining Directorate. Only 2/3 junior functionaries of other departments have been suspended. The role of officials of Forest Department and Commercial Tax authorities; of the Pollution Control Board and of the Police need to be probed to find out their acts of omission and commission.

All these aspects need to be thoroughly probed to get at the truth. The magnitude and complexity of the loot seem well beyond the technical, professional and jurisdictional competence of the state vigilance machinery. More over, it is not a conventional case of theft of a few lakh of rupees from a Bank. What we are confronted with is a SCAM OF THE CENTURY, perpetrated for years, patronised by politically strong men and abetted by pliant officials. Let us not dilute the issue by initiating an inadequate enquiry. The entire matter should be handed over to the CBI for a thorough probe so that the perpetrators, whoever they are and howsoever high and mighty they are, are punished. Let majesty of law prevail. Let the just demand of the civil society be respected. The need of the hour is to rise above political gimmickry to unravel truth and punish the guilty.

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Entry filed under: Industries and mineral resources, Mining and Industrialization, Mining scam, State Watch-Monitoring the Odisha State.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Neharika Bose  |  April 7, 2010 at 8:01 am

    This is old news. The PIL being heard by the Supreme Court CEC has shed far more truthful light on the entire scam.

    The Secretary Mines and teh secretary forest have been questioned and have acknowledged their ignorance of law and failure to control such illegality.

    Sadly the media in Odisha is quiet on this major development and the State Government is continuing to mislead people with the sham of a Vigilance probe.

    The CBI itself and also the Minister of Mines of India have said they are willing to probe. and to top it all apparently the people named by the Vigilance in their FIR have also asked for a CBI enquiry! So what truth remains of the Vigilance probe ordered by Naveen Babu??????

    Reply

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