The clamour for a CBI probe into the multi-thousand core mining scam got louder with political parties on Wednesday endorsing the recommendation of the Shah Commission.
A day after “The Express” blew the lid off the inquiry panel’s report, which is lying with the State Government for over a month, senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik said the Naveen Patnaik Government must hand over the investigation to the premier agency without further delay because a judicial commission is not a substitute to probe by a competent investigating agency.
“The State Government had taken a stand that the mining scam was under investigation by the Shah Commission and now that it has given its findings, the Government must implement the recommendations and write to the Centre to notify a CBI probe,” he said.
The Shah Commission’s indictment clearly establishes that investigation by State Vigilance was under the control of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and a complete eyewash. Even the Government admitted to the illegal mining and issued notices to mining companies for recovery of about `2 lakh crore, but it was only to hoodwink the public since it yielded no result, he said.
Terming it “the biggest corruption in history of Odisha,” Niranjan wondered how such a huge loot could take place without the knowledge of the people in power. “Who is the Chief Minister trying to protect?” he said, adding that the BJD Government benefited from the Shah Commission report on Karnataka and Goa and used all resources at its disposal to waylay the commission, but in vain.
Niranjan said the large scale illegalities occurred because the Government had not only turned a blind eye, but also aided the process by granting trading licence, licence for third party stock-yard and transit permit.
The Shah Commission has only visited leasehold areas and reported violation of mining regulations by mine owners, but the CBI must investigate large-scale loot from non-lease hold areas and non-functional mines by the mining mafia, basically thieves with earth movers, he demanded.