Reported by Chinmaya Dehury/ Edited by Swetaparna Mohanty
Bhubaneswar, Aug 20
Cracking the whip on officials allegedly involved in multi-crore Uliburu mining scam, the state government on Tuesday suspended five forest officials including two officers belonging to Indian Forest Service (IFS) cadre. With this, the total number of officials suspended in connection with the scam has risen to 18.
The Forest department, which had earlier placed seven officials under suspension, has now suspended two IFS officers, Pradip Raj Karat and Sarat Mohanty, who were posted as DFOs when the rules were openly flouted at the Uliburu mines.
An Assistant conservator of forest (ACF) Kartikeswar Mohanty has also been suspended for his involvement in the case.
Earlier, the Steel and Mines department had suspended seven mining officials including three Deputy Director of Mines (DDM) for dereliction in duty.
The original leaseholder of Uliburu iron ore mines, BK Mohanty, was arrested and sent to judicial custody in connection with the large scale loot of ore from this mine.
Deepak Gupta, who held the power of attorney of the mines, is on the run and has been declared absconder.
The Vigilance department had filed cases against Deepak Gupta and his family members for illegally raising iron ore after they obtained ‘power of attorney’ from B K Mohanty.
Mohanty, who was accorded a lease on an area spread over 35 hectares for extraction of iron ore at Uliburu mines under the Joda mineral circle, has been accused of raising and exporting iron ore worth Rs 1,800 crore illegally until 2009. The miner is said to have extracted huge amounts of iron ore by shifting the boundary pillars of the leased mine area to the nearby Uliburu reserve forest.