Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 27:
The State Vigilance Cell arrested absconding suspended deputy director of Mines (DDM), Manas Ranjan Mohanty from the Unit VI area in the Odisha capital this morning in connection with the multi-crore Uliburu mining scam.
Mohanty would be produced in the Special Vigilance Court in Keonjhar today.
It may be mentioned that on August 3 last year, the Special Vigilance Court of Keonjhar had declared five suspended Odisha Mining department officials— former DDM of Joda circle Manas Ranjan Mohanty, mining officer Ramesh Chandra Mahalik, Sisir Chandra Mohanty, Routray Murmu and Purna Chandra Patra— as absconders in the multi-crore Uliburu mining scam and asked them to appear personally by September 11, failing which their properties would be confiscated.
The Vigilance department has already filed charge sheets against 29 persons, including prime accused Deepak Gupta, in the special vigilance court in Keonjhar in connection with the multi-crore mining scam.
The state government had suspended 16 officials, including two officers of the Indian Forest Service (IFS), in connection with the Rs 2000 crore loot.
Deepak Gupta, who was operating the Uliburu iron ore mine, originally leased out to B K Mohanty, by virtue of a power of attorney, has been accused of violating forest and mining laws.
The mine has remained 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 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 expired in 2003.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also 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.