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Mining scam: Narasingha demands Naveen’s resignation, CBI probe

Narasingha Mishra
Bhubaneswar, October 24: Armed with the Central Empowered Committee’s (CEC) report on mining scam in Odisha which was submitted to the Supreme Court recently, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra dared Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to order a CBI probe into the scam and step down from his office.

Addressing a Press conference here Mishra said, “The CEC's report not only puts the Chief Minister under the shadow of corruption but prima facie establishes that he is a party to different mining scams in the State. Hence, he should step down from his office he holds and order a CBI probe into the scam before the Supreme Court gives any adverse comment.”

Slamming the State Government over the Thakurani B iron ore mine in Keonjhar, Mishra said that the CEC’s report has shown how the Chief Minister and the then Mines Minister AU Singhdeo had shown undue favour to Sarada Mines despite opposition from the then Chief Secretary.

Referring to the report Mishra said, “If we refer to the CEC's report in Para 138, there is clear finding that the renewal of the mining lease by the State Government with effect from 14.8.2001 was in clear violation of MMDR Act, 1957 and MCR, 1960 and as such the renewal of the mining lease is void and is of no effect. On 14.8.2001, the renewal was approved by the then Steel and Mines Minister AU Singh Deo and by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. This amounts to showing undue favour to a mine owner and therefore punishable under Prevention of Corruption Act.”

He further stated that the most important paragraph in the CEC's report is Para 173 which has quoted the noting of the then Chief Secretary in the file relating to the transfer of the mining lease from the partnership farm to a private limited company.

“The Chief Secretary questioned the bona fide of such permission being given and said, “Would this not amount to a fraud?” In spite of this observation of the Chief Secretary, the transfer was permitted. As per the rules of business of the State Government, the file will be processed through the concerned Minister to the Chief Minster. Both of them alone can overrule the view of the Chief Secretary. It therefore follows that the then Mines Minister AU Sungh Deo with the intention of showing favour to a mine owner allowed this transfer,” alleged Mishra.

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