‘Confiscate wealth of mining mafia’ (The Times of India – January 6, 2014)


BHUBANESWAR: Reiterating his demand for a CBI probe into the multi-thousand crore mining scam, senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik on Sunday said the inquiry must go beyond the Justice M B Shah Commission report and sought an ordinance to confiscate wealth of the mining mafia.

The former state Congress president, in a press statement, said CBI investigation must go beyond leaseholders.

“The leaseholders are known legal entities and irregularities committed by them can be computed and accountability fixed, as has been rightly done by the Shah Commission,” he said. The Shah panel has recommended recovery of around Rs 60,000 crore from miners for illegalities committed by them.

On mining outside leasehold areas and abandoned mines, Niranjan said, “All entities involved in such illegal mining, as juxtaposed to irregular mining by known legal leaseholders, are remaining nameless and faceless. They have neither paid any royalty nor any income tax and there is no way they can be held accountable.”

He said such people are known in public as ‘mining mafia’ and have not come under the Shah Commission’s scrutiny. “Police arrested some of these individuals. But, now they on bail and happily enjoying their ill-gotten wealth generated by simple theft of iron ore.

The ‘ring leaders’ are actively funding political parties and hoping to play a big role in the next general elections. Involvement of mining mafia and such huge slush money is a threat to democracy. The iron ore stolen by the mining mafia may be close to one lakh crore and belongs to the people of Odisha and therefore, CBI must investigate them as well and start a process for confiscation of all these wealth,” he added.

For the original version of this article, click here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/Confiscate-wealth-of-mining-mafia/articleshow/28463028.cms