Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 21:
Senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar (Lulu) Mohapatra today alleged that Odisha Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Mallick was involved in illegal transport of minerals and had paid a fine for it in 1998.
“In 1998, a truck belonging to Prafulla Mallick (OR-06-2306) was seized by IIC, Parjang with illegal chromite ore. Mallick paid a fine of Rs 95, 000 at the DDM office. He also gave an undertaking in the local court saying he would never do such a thing,” Mohapatra said at a press conference.
“I want to know whether the Prafulla Mallick named in the case is today’s Mines minister or not,” the Congress leader asked.
On his part, Mallick, while admitting that he had indeed paid a fine, denied any wrongdoing. “I used to own a truck before joining politics. My truck was hired by a Congress leader for transport of chromite ore. Since the owner is held responsible for anything that goes wrong with the vehicle as per law, I had to pay the fine of Rs. 95, 000. I had no way of knowing about the illegality committed. If it is proved that I did it knowingly, I will quit politics,” the minister said.
“After this episode, I sold off my truck,’ he added.