Black Rose sinking: Did Crime Branch try to shield anyone?

Bhubaneswar: At a time when mystery still shrouds sinking of MV Black Rose vessel off Paradip coast, questions are now being raised over ‘directionless’ investigation by the Crime Branch of Odisha Police.

The investigating agency’s role has now come under scanner as it arbitrarily ended its probe by just blaming the owner of the vessel for the mishap.

Be it the issue of illegal mineral transportation or traders behind such illegal operations, various aspects bearing significance were allegedly ignored by the Crime Branch, said sources. Besides, speculations are also rife that Crime Branch officials tried to shield some influential persons in the entire incident.

The opposition parties on the other hand trained their guns on Odisha government after alleged links of former minister and Jajpur MLA have come to the fore.

OTV investigation based on documents obtained from Paradip Port Trust revealed that family members of Jajpur MLA Pranab Prakash Das have links and are associated with Rector Mines, which was one of the two companies that used to transport cargo in MV Black Rose vessel.

As per the records, Rector Mines had earlier changed its name from Seven Hills in which former minister and Jajpur MLA Pranab Prakash Das was a share holder.

The shocking revelation has now provided fodder to BJP to target the Odisha government.

“When the involvement of a former Minister and MLA has come to fore, how could the Crime Branch investigated properly? Rather the investigating agency shield the accused,” said BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra

“From 2009 to 2018, almost 10 years have passed since the sinking of the ship at Paradip and Crime Branch failed to come up with tangible findings. Hence, it is evident that there was pressure from Odisha Government for which the entire investigation was not done properly,” said senior lawyer, Manas Mohapatra.

Senior Congress leader Taraprasad Bahinipati on the other hand stated that no action was taken nor chargesheet was filed by the Crime Branch against those who were engaged in looting and smuggling minerals.

“One can only hope that CBI will crack its whip as both Odisha government and Centre are at loggerheads. But if any deal is struck between the two, CBI inquiry will have no relevance,” said Bahinipati.

Ruling-BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb on the other hand stated that as the matter is sub-judice, it won’t be appropriate to comment on it. “But so far nothing has emerged from CBI inquiries in the past four years. Let’s see what happens,” said Deb.

The Mongolian vessel, MV Black Rose sank 5 kms off the Paradip port on September 9, 2009 due to unknown reasons. It is alleged that the vessel was engaged in illegal transportation of iron-ore and other minerals by forging documents.

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