Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 29:
Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Srikant Jena today demanded a probe by a central investigating agency into the use of a private plane of Triveni Earthmovers, under investigation in the illegal mining scam in Odisha, by five MPs of the ruling BJD for their trip to Delhi in June this year.
“The mining contractor had nothing a few years back, but is now a multi billionaire. How could it happen and at what cost and at whose cost? It is not just a matter of some people being flown to Delhi; this is a serious matter. It is just the tip of iceberg. It requires a detailed and thorough investigation to unearth the real scam and expose the kingpin,” said Jena.
The matter was raised by BJP MLA Pradeep Purohit in state Assembly on Monday. Purohit alleged that the five MPs used the private plane of a mining company under the scanner to travel to Delhi from Bhubaneswar.
The five are Pinaki Mishra, Ramchandra Hansda, Siddhant Mohapatra, Ladukishore Swain, and Hemendra Singh.
The mining contractor’s role in illegal extraction of ore is being investigated by the state Vigilance and the Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC). The Shah Commission has also raised the role of the mining contractor, sho has allegedly violated Rule 37 of the MCR Act.
Odisha had suffered a loss of about Rs 1,000 crore due to the illegal activities of the tainted company, said sources.
However, Berhampur MP Sidhant Mohapatra, who admitted to have flown to Delhi on the plane, said that there was no impropriety involved in using a private charter. “There was no problem in using a private carrier. The caase against him (the raising contractor) is still being probed and he is yet to be convicted,” said the BJD MP. He welcomed any probe into the matter.