Shah panel report had hinted at irregularities by Sirajuddin & Co

Bhubaneswar: Justice MB Shah Commission, which was probing into the multi-hundred crore illegal mining scam in the State, had elaborately mentioned in its report about the unlawful mining activities of Sirajuddin & Co and some other big mining companies in Odisha.

Today’s simultaneous searches at 15 places in three States conducted by the Kolkata office of Enforcement Directorate (ED) was based on the Shah commission report and also the criminal complaints filed by the Odisha Vigilance department regarding illegal iron-ore mining.

In the report, the commission had stated that during 2004-08, Sirajuddin & Co had done excess iron ore production worth Rs 630 crore from Balda mines through its raising contractor Triveni Earthmovers. It was also mentioned in the report that there were ‘gross’ irregularities in the 2010 agreement between the two which violated Rule 37 of Mineral Concession Rules (MCR).

In 2010-11, Triveni extracted and transported about 1.44 million tonne iron ore worth Rs 500 crore. Though it was named as a raising contractor in the agreement, the panel had raised questions about the complexity in the agreement for which it was paying hefty money to the group companies of Suirajuddin.

The panel had also elaborated upon the role of IBM officials and their inspections.

In its third volume prepared after scrutinising 23 iron ore leases allotted to 14 miners, the report said CBI inquiry must be initiated against companies such as Aditya Birla group-controlled Essel Mining, Sirajuddin and Co, Indrani Patnaik, Sarada Mines, Aryan Mining, ML Rungta, Mesco, Kalinga Mining Corporation, Ram Bahadur Thakur, SN Dasmohapatra and four other small miners.

These companies have been found guilty of illegal mining, excess production, violating Rule 37 of the MCR (subletting of lease) and evading crores of rupees in terms of income tax and sales tax payment, the report said, blaming lax attitude of the State government machinery for perpetration of the crime.