Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra on Sunday dared Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to recommend a CBI inquiry into the clandestine manner in which the State Government had entered into a joint venture with Sainik Mining and Allied Services Limited.
“If you are innocent, as you often claim, you would have no difficulty to recommend CBI investigation in terms of Sections 5 and 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946,” Mohapatra said in a letter to the Chief Minister.
Alleging that huge money had changed hands in the deal, the former minister said a large amount was spent in the last general elections to the Assembly and the Lok Sabha.
Making a specific reference to the illegal manner in which the State Government entered into a joint venture with Sainik Mining for development and mining coal from Utkal D block allotted to Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) at Talcher in Angul district in 2003 at media conference here on September 22, Mohapatra had also demanded a CBI probe into the deal.
Though the Chief Minister rubbished the allegation, he, however, cancelled the joint venture (JV) with Sainik Mining two days latter. The Chief Minister now stands exposed, the BJP leader said in his letter. The Ministry of Coal intimated the State Government vide a letter dated December 19, 2003 about the allocation of Utkal-D block to the OMC. The state-run corporation signed an MoU with Sainik Mining on December 29, 2003 for mining coal from the same coal block, Mohapatra said.
As per the MoU, Sainik Mining became the major stakeholder in the joint venture with 76 per cent equity while OMC kept only 26 per cent stake. The minor partner OMC was asked to pay the cost of the geological report (GR) which was over ` 3.44 crore, Mohapatra said.
The Central empowered committee (CEC) constituted by the Supreme Court questioned the rationale of the joint venture. The apex court directed the Centre to issue appropriate direction to the State Government for cancelling the joint venture which was considered illegal.
Objecting to the joint venture with a private company, the Ministry of Coal wrote twice to the State Government. Chief Secretary BK Patnaik defended the State Government action in his reply to the Centre on February 1, 2012.
Alleging that the State sustained huge loss due to the illegal JV with a private company, Mohapatra requested the Chief Minister to recommend a CBI probe into the case to bring the culprit to justice.