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Rediff.com  » Business » No need for CBI probe into mining scam, says govt

No need for CBI probe into mining scam, says govt

March 10, 2010 12:23 IST
The Orissa government on Wednesday admitted illegal stocking and transportation of minerals by rail in the Joda mining belt even as it rejected the Opposition demand for instituting a CBI enquiry into allegations of irregularities in mining operation in the state.

 It also corroborated the opposition charges on laying of pipeline by a private company in the forest land in Keonjhar district.

Replying to an adjournment motion on illegal stocking of minerals at railway sidings, corruption in issue of trading licenses and laying of slurry pipeline in the forest land in violation of the law in the state assembly today, the minister for steel and mines, Raghunath Mohanty, said, there was no need to ask CBI to probe the allegations of mining scam as the progress of investigation into the matter by the state vigilance is "satisfactory" and the department is competent enough to deal with the issue.

Stating that the vigilance has been given free hand, he said, it has been empowered to launch enquiry against any person including the politicians and take action against the culprits as per the penal code and other laws. The enquiry is continuing in an independent, free and transparent manner", he affirmed and termed the Opposition demand for CBI probe as "baseless and politically motivated".

The minister informed that based on the prima-facie evidence of irregularities, the vigilance has registered case against nine persons.

On the allegation of the government's inaction against the Ram Bahadur Thakur Ltd and Arjun Lodha mines, the minister said, administrative enquiry conducted into RBT is completed and vigilance enquiry is in progress.

The steel and mines department has issued show cause notice for refusal of mining lease to RBT as the company was found guilty of violating various laws. The official, who gave permission to RBT for deployment of private security to guard its mines, has since been suspended.

Similarly, the enquiry against the Arjum Lodha mines is in progress and the company has been issued show cause notice under clause 27 of the Mineral Concession Rules. Further action including the termination of the lease is being taken up by the government.

On allegation relating to illegal operation of mines owned by M S Dev, he said, since the Supreme Court has accepted B C Dev as the legal heir of M S Dev, there is no problem in accepting B C Dev as the lessee of the mines owned by M S Dev.

Admitting to charges of illegal stocking of minerals by some individuals and organisations at the railway sidings in Joda mining belt, Mohanty said, the deputy director (Joda) has suspended 103 storing, dumping and loading licenses issued for Jurudi and Banspani railway sidings.

An inter agency committee has been formed under the chairmanship of commissioner-rail co-ordination to examine various aspects of illegal transportation of 125 rakes from Jurudi and Banspani railway sidings. Action would be taken after the committee submits its report.

He said, two employees of Brahmani River Pellets Ltd were booked by the Divisional Forest Officer of the Baitarani reserve forest area and cases have been filed against them for illegally laying slurry pipe line in the forest land. Both Essar Steel and BRPL are laying slurry pipeline for transportation of the minerals taking permission from the public works department.

BS Reporter
Source: