Action against 3 more officials in Uliburu mining scam

Bhubaneswar: As the Odisha Government is waiting with bated breath for details of Shah Commission’s part-I mining probe report submitted on July 2 to the Union mines ministry, the State mines department on Monday decided to take departmental proceedings against three more officials for their alleged involvement in the Rs 1800 crore Uliburu mining scam.
  
Highly placed sources said, the State Government has decided to take action against deputy director of mines (Joda circle) Madan Mohan Biswal and Routray Murmu in this case who was placed under suspension in a separate mining related case in 2009. 
 
Besides, Purna Chandra Patra, who superannuated as deputy director last year is also under the scanner for his alleged complicity in the multi-crore scam, they added.
 
On July 13 the State mines department suspended Manas Mohanty, deputy director of mines and Suresh Sahu, mining officer (Baripada circle) and, two days back it had placed under suspension two inspectors of mines – Subash Chandra Barik and Ramesh Chandra Panda – for dereliction in duty.
 
“We have recently suspended four officials in the (Uliburu mining) case. Following vigilance report, we had taken similar action against some officials in 2009 and will do so in the coming days if they are found guilty,” steel and mines minister Rajani Kanta Singh said.
 
Meanwhile, social activist Rini Rath on Monday appealed the Orissa High Court for rehearing of the PILs seeking CBI probe into the Odisha mining scam. On April 18, 2011 Orissa High Court had reserved judgment on the six PILs seeking CBI probe and another by a special investigating team (SIT) on the multi-crore mining scam.
 
The petitioner on Monday argued that since the then chief justice of Orissa High Court V. Gopala Gowda was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court, the petitions should be re-heard.
 
“We prayed the High Court to take up the cases in the first week of August,” Dillip Mohapatra, petitioner’s counsel said.
 
Recently the State Government took control of the Uliburu mining lease of B K Mohanty after it was established prima facie that the miner had illegally raised minerals beyond its permitted area without any lawful authority. It also directed Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) to sell idle iron ore stock of around 3,00,000 tonne through e-auction.
 
It may be noted that B K Mohanty, the original leaseholder of the mines had transferred the ownership of the lease to Deepak Gupta, the managing director of Deepak Steel and Power, via power of attorney.  Investigations revealed that iron ore was unlawfully extracted outside the original lease area – in 6 hectare Reserve Forest and 29 hectare revenue forest which is in possession of the Revenue department.