Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 13:
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has taken prime accused in Odisha’s Rs 2,000 crore Uliburu mining scam Deepak Gupta and his associate Satyabrat Rout on a 10-day remand, has now slapped a money laundering case in the matter.
The investigating agency has filed the case under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and is all set to attach properties, worth crores of rupees, of all those involved in the scam.
According to sources, the ED has registered a criminal FIR and is set to attach assets under the PMLA.
The ED slapped the charges after taking cognisance of the FIR filed in this regard by the Vigilance wing of the Odisha Police in 2012.
Gupta and Rout, will be in ED custody till July 20. The District Sessions and Judge Court, Khordha allowed the agency remand of the two accused on July 10.
The Justice M B Shah Commission, which probed the mining scam in Odisha, had termed the Uliburu case as “one of the biggest illegal minings ever” while recommending a CBI probe into the entire scam.
Deepak Gupta, who was operating the Uliburu iron ore mine, orginally leased out to B K Mohanty, by virtue of the power of attorney, has been accused of violating forest and mining laws. The mine was closed since 2009 after the government, hounded by the Opposition and media reports, decided to finally crack down on illegal mining operations in the area. The reports of the Mines department suggest, the miner Gupta excavated huge amount of iron ore from the forest area by shifting the boundary pillars into adjacent reserve forest even after the validity of the mines lease had expired in 2003.
Earlier, the State Government had suspended 16 officials including two officers of the Indian Forest Service in connection with Uliburu scam.
The vigilance department has filed charge sheets against 25 persons, including prime accused Deepak Gupta, in the special vigilance court in Keonjhar in connection with the multi-crore Uliburu mining scam.