Odisha mining scam: Srikant, Jayadev offer different takes on Centre’s stand

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Aug 28:

While the non-committal attitude of Union government to act upon the recommendations of Justice Shah Commission for a CBI inquiry into the Odisha mining scam evoked strong criticism from the state Congress,a sharp division within the party came to the fore as PCC president Jaydev Jena and former union minister Srikant Jena made different statements over the issue ins eparate press conferences.

Srikant Jena at press meet  Pic-Biswaranjan Mishra
Srikant Jena at press meet
Pic-Biswaranjan Mishra

Slamming the Centre for not ordering a CBI probe into mining scam, Srikant Jena sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get the scandal inquired by the premier Central agency.

“I am surprised to note that the Union Steel and Mines Minister feels there is no need for a CBI probe into the huge mining scam in Odisha. It is unfortunate that recommendation of Shah Commission has been ignored. The Centre should respect the recommendations of the Commission set up by the Central Government and clear its stand before the public about the probe,” Jena told reporters here.

He said while the Shah Commission referred to the dubious role of state government officials and others in the scam and therefore sought a CBI probe, the former Union Minister said that it is an irony that the Union Mines minister is justifying his stand by saying there is no need for CBI probe  because the state agencies are conducting an investigation into the matter.

“If CBI does not investigate into the matter, the whole truth behind the mining scam and the involvement of many influential people will never come to light,” the former Union Minister said.

He said that the state government is in panicky after the Shah Commission recommended CBI probe into the mega scam as it would unmask corrupt government officials and ruling party leaders who helped the corporate houses to loot natural resources.

Jayadev Jena, PCC chief addressing press meet (pic-Biswaranjan Mishra)
Jayadev Jena, PCC chief addressing press meet
(pic-Biswaranjan Mishra)

“I demand intervention of the Prime Minister into the matter to ensure a CBI probe into mining scam. If necessary, we will write to the Prime Minister stressing on our demand.”

Interestingly, unlike the PCC chief who accused the BJP of being hand in glove with the BJD in the scam, Jena urged state BJP leaders to mount pressure on the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre to pave way for investigation by the CBI.

Significantly, Srikant also did not attend the introspection meeting carried out by AICC general secretary BK Hariprasad at the Congress Bhawan. On his part, Srikant Jena claimed that he had already stated the reasons for the electoral defeat of the party at Delhi and hence he did not see any need to go to the post mortem of the last polls being conducted at the party office here.

The PCC president Jayadev Jena had a distinctly different take on the Centre’s reluctance over ordering a CBI probe. While talking to the media in a separate press conference the leader had alleged that there is an ‘understanding and unholy alliance’ between the BJP and the state BJD.

“The Modi government wants to keep the BJD in good humour, given the arithmetic in the Rajya Sabha. The BJD is also willing to play ball as it is scared of its leaders being booked by the CBI as is the case in the chit fund scam, ” said Jayadev Jena.

Since the  BJD and BJP were ruling alliance partners from 2000 to 2009, the mining scam will lead to the doors of the leaders of both the parties if there is a CBI probe, he said.

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