Mines officials held for issuing

Bhubaneswar: The sleuths of State Vigilance on Friday arrested two mining officials of Koida circle in Sundergarh district on charges of issuing trading permit to Kolkata-based Rashmi Metalliks which had no valid licence to transport ores.

Officials said, in August 2008 the company had transported nearly 33,000 metric tonnes of iron ore through transit pass which was issued in the knowledge of Ramesh Chandra Mahalika, Deputy Director of Mines (DDM), Koida circle and Girish Chandra Bose, a senior clerk at the DDM office.

The officials estimate the ‘illegal permit’ resulted in the loss of Rs 6 crore to the State exchequer.

"We have registered a case on September 11 against both the officials and arrested the duo. They will be produced in the Keonjhar Special Vigilance court," said SP (Vigilance) Sashi Bhushan Mishra.

Four of the five accused in this case are from the state mines department. Besides Mahalik and Bose, case has also been registered against Routray Murmu, Ex-Mining Officer, Prasanna Kumar Das, Ex- Junior Accountant (all are of the office of Deputy Director Mines, Joda, Dist- Keonjhar), Sanjay Patwari, Director M/s Rashmi Metaliks Limited, Gukulpur and M/s Rashmi Metaliks Ltd., Gokulpur.

Though the firm had no valid license for trading of iron ore during the period from August 10, 2008 to August 28, 2008, it was engaged in transportation of iron ore violating the Orissa Minerals (Prevention of Theft, Smuggling and Illegal Mining and Regulation of Possession, Storage, Trading and Transportation) Rules 2007, Mishra pointed out.

Meanwhile, a raid was conducted at the residence of Rashmi Metalliks MD Sanjay Patwari in Kolkata.

Earlier in March this year, in another case linked to Rashmi Metalliks, the Odisha Government had suspended Ballav Charan Nayak, DDM of Joda circle and Manas Mohanty, former DDM of Joda for their alleged involvement in regularising the already cancelled trading licence of the Kolkata-based firm.