The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday said the Vigilance Department probe into the multi-crore illegal mining case would not lead to action against all those involved in the scam.
Alleging that the Vigilance Department was dancing to the tunes of the State government to allow many accused in the scam to go scot free, senior leaders of the party reiterated their demand for a CBI probe into the case.
“If Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has the courage, he should hand over the case to the CBI,” Leader of the party’s Legislature Party in State Assembly K.V. Singh Deo said at a press conference here.
“The Vigilance Department has investigated into the case in a hurry to protect the Chief Minister’s Mr. Clean image. Unfortunately, the Vigilance report indicts only junior officials such as Deputy Directors and silent on the people at the helm who are the real powers that are behind this fraud,” Mr. Singh Deo said.
The BJP leader further said the Vigilance Department had registered the case under lighter Sections of Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act, leaving the door open for the accused to get bail.
Although eight persons had already been arrested in the case pertaining to illegal mining of manganese in Keonjhar district, Mr. Singh Deo said the Vigilance department had intentionally left many aspects of the case out of the purview of its investigation.
“The Vigilance probe was just hogwash and no attempt is being made to book the politicians, who were involved in the scam,” Mr. Singh Deo observed.
The case registered by the Vigilance Department pertains to illegal extraction of manganese ore by Messrs Ram Bahadur Thakur Limited, who had engaged one of the accused as its agent through a “fake power of attorney”.
Stating that illegal mining by Ram Bahadur Thakur Limited was just one of the many such scams in Keonjhar district, Mr. Singh Deo alleged several companies were engaged in illegal mining in connivance with top government officials and politicians.
He alleged that two other companies – Arjun Ladha and B.C. Deb – were also engaged in illegal mining, but the State government had not initiated any action against them till date.