Orissa CM Orders Probe Into Iron Ore Scam

Bhubaneswar, January 21: | Updated: Jan 22 2003, 05:30am hrs
The Orissa government has ordered an official-level probe into the alleged Rs 3 crore iron ore export scam that has rocked the state-owned Orissa Mining Corp. The Chief Minister, Mr Naveen Patnaik, has directed the state chief secretary, PK Mohanty, to probe into the matter and submit the report as soon as possible.

In recent times, the iron ore export scam, exposed by the Orissa Gana Parisad president Bijaya Mohapatra, has came as a serious embarrassment for the Naveen Patnaik government which is apparently fighting against corruption.

Mr Mohapatra, political bete noire of Mr Patnaik, has alleged that the Chief Minister, steel and mines minister AU Singhdeo, OMC chief US Bhatia, Chief Ministers brother Prem Patnaik, and his advisor Pyari Mohan Mohapatra were involved in the scam.

Interestingly OMC, while almost confirming the allegations of Mohapatra, has admitted that it had allowed the two Hong Kong-based trading firms in exporting the iron ores from Orissa. Great Harvest and Noble Resources have supplied iron ore fines of 63,298 mt and 1.13 lakh matric tonne respectively, the OMC has said.

The OMC has also admitted that the Dubai-based trading house, Transworld Commodity has lifted more iron ore fines than it was allotted. Besides, TCCs subsidiary Core Minerals was allotted 90,538 mt of fines for export, the state PSU has said.

Mr Mohapatra has alleged that Rs 3 crore kickback has been received by the CM, steel and mines minister AU Singhdeo, OMC chief US Bhatia, CMs elder brother Prem Patnaik, and his advisor

PM Mohapatra to show favour to Transworld Commodity and the two other firms.