Mrunal Manmay Dash

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday quashed the complaint against Nayagarh Collector, Rabindra Nath Sahu, who allegedly sought bribe from a laterite mine leaseholder under Ranpur Tehsil in Nayagarh.

The NGT in its judgment, observed, “We accordingly dispose of the original application with a direction to the State respondents to initiate criminal proceedings against Susant Kumar Barad, Lessee of Mayurjhalia Laterite Quarry, and Shashank Agarwal, Director of M/s Agarwal Infrabuild Private Limited, for illegal extraction of ordinary earth/soil/morrum beyond the lease area. FIRs should be lodged against them within a period of two months.”

The NGT has also issued direction to the (State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority) SEIAA, Odisha, to compute environmental compensation against Barad and Agarwal for excess mining of laterite stone/morrurn/ ordinary earth, and proceed to recover the same from them in accordance with law within a period of two months.

On Thursday, Collector Sahu and three other persons were booked by Chandpur Police for allegedly seeking bribe of Rs 25 lakh from a laterite stone mine leaseholder under Ranpur Tehsil.

As per the allegation by Barad, Sahu along with the three others and some other people had visited the Mayurjhalia laterite stone mine area on January 26, 2023, and sought bribe to the tune of Rs 25 lakh.

However, Sahu had refuted the allegations against him saying, “NGT has slapped a fine of Rs 2.81 crore on the mining leaseholder following a survey. Section 144 has also been clamped in the mining area. The allegation has been brought to divert the attention from those incidents. I did not go to the spot on January 26, as I was busy with various programmes on Republic Day. I have not yet seen the place.”

  • Reported by:
  • Jayendra Behera