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Odisha mining scam: Eight miners under SIT scanner

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 4:

The Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money headed by former apex court judge M B Shah has asked the Odisha government to look for possible tax evasion by eight mining lease holders who mined iron ore without having any environmental clearance.

(pic courtesy-Scroll.in)
(pic courtesy-Scroll.in)

In a letter to the Orissa government last month, the SIT vice-chairman Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat had asked it to find out from chief commissioner of Income Tax in Bhubaneswar how it has dealt with the illegalities committed by eight mining lease holders who mined iron ore without having any environmental clearance.

The Shah commission’s report on Orissa mining scam had pointed out that between 1994 and 2012, eight leaseholders in Mayurbhanj district extracted 2.27 million tonnes of iron ore without necessary forest and environment clearance.

According to the Shah Commission,these eight leaseholders include Ghanashyam Mishra and Sons, Lal Trader and Agencies, B C Dagra, J K Choube, G S Choube, D C Dagra, Dinesh Chander Das and B K Das.

Of them, Das mined a maximum of 4.85 lakh tonnes between 1994-95 and 2011-12.

The mines which were operated by them were located within the 10 km radius of the outer boundary of Simlipal National Park. None of the mining leases were approved by the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife.

The Shah panel in its report, submitted in June last year, had recommended cancellation of the leases.

The SIT has also asked the Central Board of Central Excise to find out if duties, along with penalty and interest, have been levied on such mining operations, sources said.

The sources said the SIT is looking into possible cases of tax evasion by the leaseholders.

Earlier, on August 24, Justice Arijit Passayat had held a meeting with government officials at Cuttack to figure out if mining companies, which generate huge illegal income by drawing more than the allotted quantity of ore, stash it away as black money.

The former Supreme Court judge had also met officials from the Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate, Customs and Port authority and examined the documents pertaining to Mesco, Sirajuddin Co, Kalinga mines, besides Essel Mining and Sarda mines.