Describing Justice M B Shah’s statement on Saturday as a cover up to protect politicians, Odisha Jana Morcha president Pyarimohan Mohapatra on Sunday said only an inquiry by the CBI could establish the involvement of political leaders in the multi-crore mining scam.
Stating that a scam of such magnitude would not be possible without the involvement of political leaders, Pyarimohan said he has been demanding a CBI probe into illegal mining to identify those involved in it.
“Even now some people are pointing fingers at me (for my involvement in the scam). As I said earlier, I am prepared to face a CBI probe,” the Rajya Sabha member told mediapersons here. Not only the ruling BJD, but people from the Opposition political parties are also involved in the mining scam, he said and sought to know from the Government as to who used the fake transit pass for illegal transportation of minerals.
Responding to a query, the former bureaucrat-turned-politician said the Commission cannot pass it off citing lack of hard evidence against political leaders. Besides, it is not the job of the Commission to find out the politicians who are involved in the scam. The matter should be investigated by an agency like the CBI. Justice Shah on Saturday said it is difficult to find out political patronage behind the illegal mining. There is not enough evidence to prove their involvement and it may not be proper on the part of a judge to comment on that, Shah said.
Asked why the Government in which he was playing a major role for more than a decade failed to act against those who operated mines in violation of forest and environmental laws and without having approved mining plan, Pyarimohan said such illegalities were possible as a large number of temporary permits were granted year after year.
Those who are responsible for the scam should be sent to jail, he said.
On the Posco steel project which is still hanging fire, the former chief mentor of Chief Minister Naveen Pataik said there should be a level-playing field for domestic investors and foreign direct investment (FDI).
“Why should Posco be accorded special treatment when they have nothing much to offer in comparison to other domestic steel companies?,” he said, adding the technology to be used by the Korean company is already there in the Vizag Steel.
Supporting the public protest against Posco project, Pyarimohan said the compensation given to the affected people is lopsided. While the people who grew betel vine on encroached Government land are paid Rs 11 lakh, the workers engaged there are paid a paltry Rs 2,250 per month for two years. Why this discrimination, he wondered.