Vikash Sharma

Rayagada: A government teacher was among two persons who were arrested for their alleged involvement in the illegal gemstones trade in Rayagada district.

The accused have been identified as Radhamohan Mahana of Boudh and Subhash Ratnalu of Muniguda area, police said on Thursday.

As per reports, Radhamohan is a teacher at a government school and had links with the prime accused Jitendra Behera who was earlier arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) of the Crime Branch.

Behera was arrested under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 379 and 411 and section 12 of Odisha Mineral Prevention of Theft, Smuggling and others (Unlawful Activities Act), 1988.

Around 151 kg of semi-precious gemstones including Rubby, Panna, Topaz, Black diamond, Moonstone, Amethist, Turmulin, Rainbow, Quartz were seized following a raid on Behera’s residence. The cost of the seized gemstones was around Rs 1.5 crore, STF had said in a statement.

Alleging involvement of ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the illegal gemstones trade, Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded action against the ruling party leaders for their alleged links with ganja and gemstone smuggler Jitendra Behera.

The party has alleged involvement of ST/SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Minister Jagannath Saraka and Rajya Sabha Member Bhaskar Rao in the illegal gemstone trade.
Shivshankar Ulaka, former district president alleged that both the BJD leaders have complicity with the arrested accused Jitendra Behera.

“At a time when the State government is boasting of its 5T model of governance free of corruption, transparency, and other big talks, the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should expel both the leaders for their connection in the entire incident,” said Ulaka.

Meanwhile, Minister Jagannath Saraka has refuted any links in the illegal gemstone trade.

“A lot of people from the constituency meet me on a daily basis. How will I know who is doing what in their personal life,” questioned Saraka.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)