Naveen Patnaik involved in Odisha mining scam: Srikant Jena

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Srikant Jena
New Delhi, Nov 5: Iron ore worth Rs 2,50,000 crore was illegally mined in Odisha as the state government colluded with private companies, Union minister Srikant Jena said here today.

Ruing that the firms dug out more iron ore than what they were allowed as per their contracts, he accused Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of being involved in the mining scam.

"The Odisha scam is much bigger than the Goa or Karnataka scam," the Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation said. "Patnaik must quit. He has caused a loss of more than Rs 4 lakh crore to the state exchequer," he said.

Alleging that "Patnaik must be operating through his friends in Delhi", Jena said, "Patnaik's real face has been unmasked. Scams have been happening in the state since 10 years. He has sold all the rich bauxite mines in Odisha. I want the state mining corporation to take over bauxite mining."

Regarding the bauxite scam, the central minister noted that "A case has been pending in Odisha High Court since six years." He hit out at the media for "not being concerned with eastern India" even though "the biggest scams are taking place there."

Soon after Jena levelled these allegations, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) that rules Odisha pointed to the lack of evidence to substantiate his claims. The party noted that Jena is saying such things because he did not get an important portfolio during the recent cabinet reshuffle.

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