CBI probe demanded in Odisha mining scam

Bhubaneswar, Dec 26 : The opposition Congress and BJP Thursday separately reiterated their demand for a CBI probe into the alleged multi-crore-rupee mining scam in Odisha.

Citing the Shah Commission report, excerpts of which ware leaked to a section of the media recently, Bharatiya Janata Party vice president Jual Oram said a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation should be conducted under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

"The leaked report clearly indicates that the government allowed large scale illegal mining in the state which could not have taken place without the involvement of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his close associates," Oram told IANS.

Former minister and Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik said the state government was avoiding a CBI probe on the ground that the Shah Commission was investigating the matter.

"Now that the commission has given its findings, the government must implement the recommendations and write to the central government to notify a CBI probe," he said.

Patnaik described the mining scam as the biggest corruption case in the history of Odisha, and asked how such an incident could take place if the government was indeed honest.

The commission led by retired Supreme Court judge M.B. Shah was appointed by the central government in November 2010 to investigate allegations of illegal mining in several mineral-rich states.

The commission probed the alleged scam in Odisha and submitted its final report to the central government July 1.

Media reports said the commission highlighted gross irregularities by mines in the state and pointed out procedural inadequacies that led to the scam.

The commission also found that 94 of the 192 iron-ore mining leases in the state were operating without environmental clearance. Similarly, 75 other mines which have got the green nod were mined beyond approved level, it said.

--IANS (Posted on 26-12-2013)

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