The Telegraph
Friday , March 21 , 2014
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Ore loot finger at BJD duo

Bhubaneswar, March 20: The Congress today accused two Lok Sabha candidates of the BJD of involvement in the loot of chromite ores worth Rs 20,000 crore and demanded a CBI probe into the scam.

Congress state poll campaign committee chairman and Union minister Srikant Jena today said the scam came to light following a case registered by Jajpur’s sub-divisional magistrate in the court of the first-class judicial magistrate on March 12. The case was filed on the directions of the Union ministry of environment and forests.

Jena said the Jajpur sub-divisional magistrate, a senior state government official, had clearly mentioned that the two companies — Balasore Alloys and IMFA — had violated environmental clearances and illegally mined nearly 25 lakh metric tonnes of chromite in the past 10 years (between 2000 and 2010), amounting to over Rs 20,000 crore.

BJD MP Baijayant Panda, who is seeking re-nomination from Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency, is one of the shareholders of the IMFA, while Rabindra Kumar Jena, another BJD candidate for the Lok Sabha polls, was the manager of Balasore Alloys.

“That the manager of Balasore Alloys, Rabindra Kumar Jena, was inducted into the BJD by Naveen Patnaik at a public ceremony, clearly demonstrates the nexus,” alleged Jena.

Jena said: “A CBI probe should be ordered. The mining operations of these companies should be stopped with immediate effect and taken over by the state.

“The amount of Rs 20,000 crore should be recovered from these companies and be invested for the development of Balasore, Jajpur and Kendrapara,” he said.

Though Panda was not available for comments, his office asked The Telegraph to contact IMFA’s vice-president of corporate affairs Sanjeev Das. He said: “We are not aware of such a case. Unless we get any copy of the case, it is difficult to comment.”

Das said that over production was an issue being raised by certain sections of people. “On this issue, we have already given a reply to the Jajpur collector. The case is sub-judice now,” he said.

BJD’s Balasore Lok Sabha nominee Rabindra Kumar Jena said: “I left the Balasore Alloys two-and-a-half years ago. I have no involvement in this. Srikant babu could have raised the issue earlier as he is the Lok Sabha member from Balasore. By raising the issue now, he is violating the spirit of the model code of conduct for the polls.”