Bhubaneswar: Scam in scam.
That is what the Comptroller and Auditor General of Odisha (CAG) smells in the affairs of Odisha government slapping Rs 65,000 crore penalty on defaulting iron ore and manganese mine owners in the state.
Even though the Odisha government had slapped penalty notices against the erring iron ore and manganese lessees in the wake of Shah Commissions inquiry into the mega mining scam in the state, the whole affairs remained un-official.
This is what the Comptroller and Auditor General of Odisha (CAG) hinted in its latest report which was tabled in the state assembly on Monday.
The state government between October 12 and August 2016 raised demand of a total of Rs 65,426.03 crore from 211 mining lessees relating to 12 mining circles for unlawful mining between 2000-1 and 2009-10.The offence was in the nature of excess production exceeding the statutory clearances.
As prescribed under Mining and Geology Department Notification of 1974, one Demand, Collection and Balance (DCB) Register in Form 26-Mines was to be maintained. The amount demanded was required to be entered in the DCB Register after issue of demand notice. An annual DCB report was also prepared by the Field Offices and sent to the Directorate of Mines for compilation of the total revenue of the state.
Howeve, the demanded amount was not taken to the DCB and also not reported in the DCB statement fur nished to the Directorate of Mines.
Stating that the demand of Rs65,426 crore relates to the excess production carried out by different lease holders, the state government has put forth that the matter was challenged by the lease holders before the Revisionary Authority. Since the matter was subjudice, the above demands were not included in the DCB Register, it explained . However, judgment dated 2.8.2017 of supreme court in the above cases, the legal implication of the matter has been settled and accordingly demands have been raised by DDMs/MO, the state government added.
The CAG, however, not accepted the explanation of the state government.
“ However, the fact remained that the amount demanded was not taken to Demand, Collection and Balance( DCB) Register after the demand was made”, pointed out the CAG observing, “ The amount remained outside the Government account for more than three to five years”.