Odisha Sun Times Political Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 3:
While the issue of illegal possession of multiple government plots and houses under discretionary allotment by the senior BJD leader and Rajya Sabha member Kalpataru Das and his family is currently rocking the state, there are reasons to suspect that the party veteran has been enjoying ‘special protection rights’ under the Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha, at least since 2011.
This is evident from the manner in which the state government and its anti-corruption wings have kept mum on the other illegal and allegedly fraudulent acts of the senior BJD leader, who also happens to be a close confidant of chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
The case of illegal mining activities in the Haridaspur-Jajpur iron ore plot is a perfect example to start with.
It may be mentioned here that the State Vigilance on May 11, 2011 had conducted a series of raids on Balabantray Transport company owned by Pranab Balabantray, son of Kalpataru and presently the BJD MLA of Dharmasala, and the Kalinga Transport company owned by Trilochan Das, a close confidant of Kalpataru.
The investigation had revealed that these two companies, after taking the land of the Paradip Port Trust at Haridaspur on lease by fraudulent means, had later sub-leased the land to Srinibas Jena, a close associate of Kalpataru as the proprietor of the land in gross violation of rules.
Later, a stockyard was constructed on the land from where iron ore was illegally and clandestinely transported to Paradip Port.
The Vigilance officials, apart from these two companies, had also conducted simultaneous raids on the offices of the deputy director of mines at Jajpur Road and Joda and the office of a private ore exploration and transport company.
During the raid, the anti-corruption wing came to know about illegal mining and trading of 35,000 metric tons of iron ore to the tune of Rs 100 crore. Besides, it had also seized several incriminating documents during the raid.
Though three years have passed, there has been no follow-up action either by the State Vigilance or the state Mines department till date.
This apart, another allegation has also been made against Kalpataru Das over the construction of Dharmasala Industrial Training Centre (DITC) at Dharmasala, managed by the Gokarneswar Charitable Trust, on a village forest land.
People of the area know that the ownership of the land lies with Kalpataru.
The land was under the possession of the government till 1984 and had a beat house and well where the institute has come up.
However, the BJD leader had managed to take possession of the land in 2003. by submitting a handwritten patta that dates back to 1943 at the tehsil office.