DSPL submitted first
monthly returns for October 2008 in Form-E to Joda Circle wherein a quantity of 1,43,959 MT of iron ore was shown as the
opening balance. How did it happen? No answer from DDM, Joda.
Also the DSPL submitted monthly returns from October 2008 to June 2009 showing that
procured iron ore of 4,62,967 MT from Jharkhand state and dispatched. Only in
Joda had written several letters to the railway for ascertaining
this transaction. But they all remained un-answered till today.
Also DSPL had installed a
screening plant at Hisaburu railway siding illegally. The monthly returns from
October 2008 to February 2009, submitted by DSPL to Joda Circle Office, show that
they had screened iron ore and had dispatched 57,298 MT of sized ore through
railway rakes. When the license was granted for storing and not for processing, DDM, Joda had not issued permits against this dispatch.
So, this is totally
illegal procurement from the mafias operating illegal pits inside jungle. If calculated at the minimum price of OMC i.e. Rs.5000/- per ton, the
loss that the government had suffered is at least Rs.2364 crore.
On 14/10/2009, a joint
inspection was conducted at the DSPL Hisaburu railway siding by the Mining
Inspectors and Mining Officer Joda, Officers from Pollution Control Board
Keonjhar and Commercial Tax Dept. The then mining officer, Joda seized about
41,000 tons of iron ore on the spot. The irregularities of DSPL came to
light. On basis of the joint inspection, DDM Joda, Purna Patra, suspended the
DSPL license No. 68867, vide letter No.49133 dt.27/10/2009, and asked a
show cause. The DSPL replied to the show cause on dt.29/10/2009.
21/11/2009, DDM Patra examined the reply and ordered to impose a penalty
of Rs. 25,000/- and to realize the cost price of excess iron ore found at the
time of inspection from DSPL. As per rule the cost price realization means
compounding and it has to be approved by the Director Of Mines. No such approval
from the Director of Mines had been taken.
The Daily Revenue Collection Register
(18 Mines Register ) maintained by the Joda circle office and its abstract at
Directorate of Mines from 2008 to 2013 show that the recovery of penalty and
cost of excess ore have not been realized till 2013 by DDM Joda.
The DDM Joda, Purna Patra
proceeded on long leave in the month of November 2009. The Mining Officer remained
in charge of the Circle office for few days till Umesh Chandra Jena
joined as the DDM Joda.
The license of DSPL was under
suspension since dt.27/10/2009 and there was no revoke of suspension, but the
dispatch and procurement of iron ore by DSPL was continuing and the DDM Joda was
issuing permits to this effect. Again the DSPL applied for the renewal of
license on 26/07/2010 and interestingly DDM Jena opened a new file
NO.60VA-579/2010 and processed for the renewal putting aside the original file
No.60VA-542/2008. This was only to suppress the illegality of DSPL documented in the
original file. The whole of Joda Mining Circle Office co-operated Haricharan
Gupta and, taking advantage of it, DDM Jena renewed the storing license of DSPL on 29/09/2010,
which was effected from 27/10/2010 to 26/10/2012. How was it possible without revocation of suspension
and realization of penalty and compounding money?
During the suspension period
till illegal renewal of license (dt.27/10/2009 to 26/10/2009), DSPL had
procured 3, 31,546 MT and dispatched 3, 81,906 MT of iron ore. Total
22 numbers of permits had been issued by DDM U.C.Jena to DSPL within the suspension
period. After the renewal of DSPL license, wef 27/10/2010, more permits had
been issued by DDM Jena in favour of DSPL.
Though the illegal Uliburu mines
operated by Deepak Gupta was suspended by Purna Patra the then DDM Joda
vide Letter No. 50191/Mines/dt.06.11.2009, father of Dipak Gupta, Hari Gupta, operated the Hisaburu railway siding in the name of DSPL. The
illegal production of iron ore was stopped. But without any permit the
evacuation of iron ore from the illegal Uliburu mines continued through Hisaburu
railway siding. Amazingly Joda DDM U.C.Jena went a step forward in co-operating
the illegality and issued permit No.1929/dt.23.01.2010 in favour of DSPL for
transport of 889.624 (size iron ore 5-18) tons of iron ore from Hisaburu railway siding to
Uliburu sponge iron plant, which was struggling for raw material because of suspension of Uliburu mines.
The lifeline of the iron ore
transportation from Uliburu mines to Hisaburu railway siding was a new route
discovered and developed by the Guptas. It is through the Belkundi Reserve Forest and inside
the granted iron ore mines of OMDC. The 5 KM long forest road had been widened
by felling at least 200 numbers of average 5 feet girth Sal trees illegally. The
OMDC as a Central Govt. undertaking company had objected to it. But the then DFO
Keonjhar Pradeep Raj Karat had overruled the objections raised by OMDC. Plying
of loaded vehicles had been allowed by DFO Karat. The state vigilance has
only booked Karat in the Uliburu mines case, where mining was done inside the Uliburu
Reserve Forest by shifting the forest boundary pillars.
The vigilance has submitted
supplementary charge sheet No.06/2014 at the Keonjhar Vigilance Court on
24/6/2014 wherein the document recovery point no.13 and 14 indicate that the
tour diary of Karat confirms his visit to the illegal reserve forest
road where huge transportation of iron ore was continuing (2004 to 2009). It
reveals that Karat was having knowledge about the ongoing illegal forest and
mining activities. The vigilance had also mentioned in the charge sheet that the
prime accused Deepak Gupta had been interrogated and had admitted that DFO Karat
allowed him to transport the iron ore from illegal Uliburu mines to Hisaburu
railway siding and to his father’s sponge iron plant situated at Uliburu village,
using the forest road inside the Belkundi reserve forest.
Despite the above stated
facts, vigilance never inquired into the Hisaburu railway siding. Very lately, the
Director of Mines sent the State Enforcement Squad to Hisaburu for inquiry in
2013. After receiving the confidential investigation report of the squad, the
Director of Mines is still sitting on it and not forwarding it to the government
for action since last one year. Reasons are best known to him. Only the DM is
killing time in a bureaucratic way by forwarding the report to the DDM Joda for
examination and views, which is not at all warranted. The DDM Joda Satyanand
Sahu had also complied the letters of Director of Mines 4 - 5 times during the
Commission of inquiry on Illegal Mining in the State in its final report
submitted to the Hon'ble Supreme Court had also praised the inquiry report of
State Level Enforcement Squad on Uliburu and had suggested for CBI enquiry as
the government officials and the State Govt. and the illegal miners were in
connivance causing heavy loss to the state and environment.
But, so far, no significant
action has been initiated either by the state or the central government in this
direction. And now, as the story of a bigger scam in Hisaburu is being
unearthed, it’s to be seen if the government seriously deals with the scamsters
to save its face or takes all measures to cover it up in the guise of action.
[Author is Senior
Associate Editor of
This is the second in a series of investigative reports on
Hisaburu mining scam.
Read the other two reports:
Hisaburu: Uncovering the story of a bigger mining scam
OMC: The Shrewd Player in Odisha's Mega Mining Scam