Mrunal Manmay Dash

Sunken cargo ship MV Black Rose is in news again. This time for Orissa High Court’s order seeking information on the petitioner who had demanded a CBI enquiry into the case.

It is pertinent to mention here that at least two cases were filed in this connection which were disposed off by the Court earlier. However later, another petition was filed by an RTI activist Pradeep Pradhan seeking CBI probe.

Earlier, the Shipping Corporation had written to the Union Home Ministry to allow a CBI probe in the sinking of Black Rose. When asked, the CBI had sought a No-Objection-Certificate (NOC) from the Odisha government to initiate a probe.

However, despite Union Home Ministry’s letter seeking NOC from the Odisha government, the State government allegedly sat on the letter for years delaying the probe. It forced the RTI activist Pradhan to file another petition in the HC requesting the court to ask Odisha government to provide the NOC at the earliest.

During the hearing, the Advocate General of the Odisha government raised several objections over Pradeep Pradhan himself. Odisha government argued that Pradhan has a malicious intent and he also has multiple criminal cases pending against him. So, the court asked Pradhan to file an affidavit on all the allegations against him.

The High Court has also directed to send the copy of the affidavit to the Paradip Port, the Central Government counsel appearing for the opposite party and the government advocate of Odisha government.

The matter has been listed to be heard on March 19.

On September 9, 2009, Mongolian vessel ‘MV Black Rose’ carrying a cargo of 23,847 metric tonnes of iron ore and 920 metric tonnes of furnace oil sank five kilometres off Paradip coast in Odisha under mysterious circumstances when it was on a chartered voyage to China.

Out of the 27 crew members present on board the cargo ship, 26 were rescued while the chief engineer of the vessel lost his life. The Opposition (political) parties in the State then alleged that the vessel was engaged in the illegal transportation of iron-ore and other minerals by forging documents.

The Opposition parties even alleged that ‘Black Rose’ was used to bring iron ore for sponge (iron) plants belonging to some BJD leaders by forging documents. The sinking of the ship not only became a major political issue in the State, but the matter was also dragged to the Orissa High Court and later to the Supreme Court.

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