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CEC team visits Thakurani mines to probe Sarada-JSPL ‘sweet’ deal

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Mar 5:

The three-member team of the Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which arrived in Odisha on Tuesday, visited the Thakurani mines belonging to Sarada Mines Ltd at Barbil today to probe the nexus between the Sarada Mines Ltd and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL).

The CEC team, led by its chairman PV Jayakrishnan, Member secretary M K Jiwrajka and member Mahendra Vyas, was accompanied by an additional secretary of the Steel and Mines department of the state government and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.

The CEC is inquiring into the alleged violation of Rule-37 of the Mineral Concession Rules-1960 by Sarada Mines Ltd, which has been accused of selling its entire run of mine (ROM) produce to JSPL without any written agreement. Also, the sale of iron ore by the lessee took place at unacceptably low rates when compared to market prices.

The case was referred to the CEC by the apex court in its order dated September 16, 2013.

During its visit to Odisha, The Justice M B Shah Commission of inquiry had found many irregularities in the operations of Thakurani mines spread over 947 hectares of the Thakurani reserved forest.

The CEC will hold discussions with the state government on the matter on March 6, sources said.