Bhubaneswar: Anti-corruption vigilance wing of the Odisha Police on day filed charge sheet against 23 persons and two firms in connection with multi-crore Uliburu mining scam even as Justice M B Shah Commission recommended a CBI probe into alleged mining loot worth Rs 2,000 crore.
"We have submitted the chargesheet against 23 persons and two firms at the Special Judge Court at Keonjhar," Vigilance SP S B Mishra told PTI, adding the persons included prime accused Deepak Gupta, the power of attorney holder of Uliburu mines in Odisha`s Keonjhar district.
Mishra said the charge sheet had been filed after taking into account several reports, including those by the Tehsildar and Mining department, which substantiated the involvement of several officials.
Gupta, who was given the power of attorney by B K Mohanty, the lessee of Uliburu iron ore and manganese mines, had illegally mined around 45.22 lakh tonnes of iron ore from Uliburu reserve forest and gained Rs 893.67 crore as profit during 2003-2010, Mishra said.
Uliburu mines area is located in the Joda mining circle where large scale irregularities were detected by the state Mines department. Gupta was found to have raised ore from the reserve forest area adjacent to the mines by shifting the lease boundary, the charge sheet said.
Earlier, the vigilance had arrested Gupta, mines lessee BK Mohanty and former mining inspector Satyabrata Rout. Though Mohanty was out on bail, both Gupta and Rout were still languishing in jails, Mishra said.
The vigilance department had also filed charge sheet against several government officials including three deputy directors of the mines department, sources said.
Terming the Uliburu mining scam as "one of the biggest illegal minings ever", the Shah Commission recommended a CBI probe into the matter.
The Commission said, "The case was filed before the JMFC and others mainly to cover up such a big scandal and for finding a way out to escape. Such a large magnitude of illegal mining cannot take place without a conspiracy... Since this is one of the biggest illegal mining ever observed by the Commission, it is strongly felt that this is a fit case to handover to CBI and follow up action."
It has also recommended to hand over all cases to CBI "where the FIRs were registered by Police, Vigilance, Mines, Revenues, Forests and other departments" from 2008-2011.
The state police may not be able to do justice with the quantum of illegalities due to mighty lease owners, political leaders and officials at higher ranks, the Commission observed.