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State nod to vigilance on mine scam

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 25: The state government today gave permission to the vigilance department to file chargesheets against prominent mine owner Indrani Patnaik and four state government officials.

Dipti Ranjan Patnaik, who was holding the power of attorney on behalf of Indrani Patnaik, has also been charged.

The Rs.10,000 crore mining scam broke in July 2009 after opposition parties had alleged illegal mining at the pits allotted to Ram Bahadur Thakur (RBT) mines in Keonjhar district.

The government allowed the vigilance department to file chargesheets against former special secretary of steel and mines Jagdish Prasad Agarwal, joint director, mines, Madan Mohan Biswal, mines inspector Satyabrata Rout and B. Prabahkaran of Tribeni Earth Movers.

After the probe, the vigilance department had recommended cancellation of the mining leases of Indrani Patnaik mines. Vigilance sources said that Indrani Patnaik mines had mined around 2.62 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore illegally over a period of 16 months between 2006 and 2008.When the excavated ore was exported, the loss to the state exchequer was estimated to the tune of Rs 1,008 crore.

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