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Posted on Nov 05, 09:05PM | UNI
Union Minister of State for Fertilisers and Chemicals Srikant Jena today threatened to launch a mass movement in Odisha to remove its Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik from the post in the backdrop of his alleged involvement in the illegal mining scam in the state involving a loss to the exchequer running upto Rs four lakh crore.
Mr Jena told newspersons that the losses in the mining scams in Goa and Karnataka put together were 'mere peanuts' and such a mega scam could not have taken place without the Chief Minister being in 'hand and glove with the criminal conspiracy' of the mining operators. Their mines and their bank accounts should be seized and legal action taken, he demanded.
This is nothing but 'thievery' that had been happening over ten years, he alleged and added that the ore bearing 'hillocks' had vanished in Kalahandi area in front of everybody even without environmental clearance.
The Odisha Chief Minister has a 'simple and sophisticated' exterior but through his administrative actions, he had 'exposed his own nexus' with the perpetrators which nobody can imagine, he said.
Asked why he was waiting all these years although the mining operations were happening for a long time, Mr Jena said the Odisha Government had imposed fines only two days ago at a time the Justice Shah Committee appointed by the Supreme Court was to give its report. He also said that the scams involving National Rural Health Mission was also about to unfold imposing huge losses to the Government.
Questioned about the mining operations of some Congressmen, Mr Jena said some were continuing in the 'family businesses'.
"If there are any violations, law will take its course," he replied.
To a question if he was representing the Congress party, Mr Jena said he is a Congress member and was articulating on behalf of the party too. He had spoken about the scam in Odisha and was now doing the same in Delhi too.
Regarding the Congress seeking Mr Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal's support for the Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail, Mr Jena replied, the party was seeking support of all political parties and not just the BJD.
Odisha MP Pinaki Mishra termed Mr Jena's allegations as 'outlandish, bizzare and laughable' and advised the Union Minister to hold his horses till Justice Shah submitted his report. "Mr Jena is frustrated because he did not find himself elevated in the recent reshuffle and he is letting off his emotions," he alleged.
Mr Jena on his part said that his exposure had nothing to do with the reshuffle. "I am allocated certain responsibilities by the party and the Government and will discharge my duties," he said.