Charge sheet against 23 in Orissa mining scam



Bhubaneswar: The vigilance department has filed a charge sheet against two mine owners and 21 others in the multi-crore Orissa mining scam, police said Saturday.

The 23 persons were accused of misappropriating Rs 1,063 crore from several mines in mineral-rich Keonjhar district, they said.

We have filed a charge sheet yesterday against 23 persons, including mine owners Indrani Patnaik and Das Mohapatra, SP (vigilance) D Patnaik said.

While Indrani was alloted an iron ore and manganese mine at Unchabali in Keonjhar district, Mohapatra owned a manganese mine at Katasahi-Kolha-Rudkela area in the same district.

Some government officials were also named in the charge sheet, he said.

Meanwhile, neither Indrani nor Mohapatra Patnaik was available for comment.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had handed over the probe into the illegal mining activities, which came to light in August 2009, to the vigilance department following a demand by the Opposition Congress and BJP for a CBI probe.

According to the charge sheet, seven persons, including Indrani, were allegedly involved in illegal mining activities at Unchabali iron and manganese mines in Keonjhar.

The anti-corruption wing also claimed that Rs 1,009 crore had been misappropriated by them by illegally extracting minerals.

Indrani, who shares a close relation with a local Congress leader, was incidentally among the top income tax payers last year when she had paid Rs 6 crore as income tax, officials said.

The vigilance also filed another charge sheet against 16 persons of RBT company, including two of its directors, that was also accused of looting mineral resources worth Rs 54 crore, the vigilance SP said.

The two directors of RBT were identified as Virendra Mohan Sharma and Manish Mohan Sharma. Charge sheet was also filed against RBT representative Shakti Ranjan Dash.

Some government officials were earlier arrested for their involvement in the mining scam.

PTI