Uliburu mining scam: Accused produced before court

Keonjhar: The Main accused of multi-crore Uliburu mining scam Deepak Gupta, suspended deputy director of mines Manas Mohanty and mining officer of Joda Satyabrata Rout along with 5 other accused today appeared before special vigilance court in the district.

The court has directed all the 13 accused to depose before the court today. The court has issued warrant against five other accused who failed to appear today, sources said.

Besides, the court has asked all the accused to appear before the court on July 20, sources added.

Notably, on June 28 the Vigilance department has arrested the suspended deputy director of Joda Mines circle Manas Ranjan Mohanty from Bhubaneswar.

A chargesheet dated December 31, 2013 had been submitted against Mohanty and others showing him as absconder and Special Vigilance Judge, Keonjhar had subsequently issued non-bailable warrant against Mohanty.

In May, the Enforcement Directorate had issued orders attaching assets worth Rs 400 crore of three firms, their owners and associates in the Uliburu mining scam case which was also probed by Justice (retd) M B Shah Commission for alleged financial irregularities and corruption.

The agency’s Kolkata zonal office, under which Odisha falls, had attached a number of immovable and movable assets of the accused firms in the case like Ms Deepak Steel, Ms Deepak Steel and Power and Ms Sneh Pushp and their directors like Deepak Kumar, Champak Gupta and Haricharan Gupta and a few others.

The assets attached under provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the case largely include land and buildings spread across Odisha and Kolkata.

The case pertains to Uliburu mines area located in Joda mining circle in Keonjhar district of Odisha where largescale alleged irregularities were detected by the state mines department a few years back.

Justice Shah Commission, which probed a number of mining scam cases in Odisha and Goa, had termed this particular case as “one of the biggest illegal minings ever” and recommended a CBI probe into the matter.

On June 25, 2013, OTV had first reported about the Rs 1,800-crore scam. Two days later, an investigation was initiated into the matter and the Mines official was subsequently suspended from his post in July that year.

The State Vigilance department has already submitted chargesheets in the court against 25 persons, including main accused Deepak Gupta, involved in the scam.