Calling for a comprehensive probe by CBI into the alleged mining scam in Odisha, senior Congress leader Niranjan Pattnaik today questioned what he described as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's silence on the issue.
"Why is Naveen babu silent on the subject? Is it that he does not agree with the Shah Commission findings that large- scale irregularities and revenue loss took place under his watch as the CM during the last 15 years? Who is he trying to protect?" the former PCC president said in a statement here.
Stating that the CBI probe must go beyond the lease holders, the Congress leader noted that the former were the known legal entities and irregularities committed by them can be computed and accountability fixed.
The perpetrators of irregularities like mining outside of lease hold areas and relinquished or abandoned mines were nameless and faceless, he said.
They have paid neither any royalty nor income tax and there is no way they can be held accountable under either Income Tax Act or under the Mining Rules, he said, adding that such operators were known among the public as the 'mining mafia'. They have not come under the scrutiny of Shah Commission, he added.
Those arrested in connection with charges of irregularity were now out on bail and funding political parties with hopes of playing a big role in the next general elections, he said.
CBI must probe them and start confiscating their wealth, the Congress leader added.
The state government should promulgate a new ordinance to bring the wealth of mining mafia under scrutiny, he demanded.