Bhubaneswar: Even though Niranjan has emerged as the front runner in the race for new Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) President, senior party leader Srikant Jena on Wednesday slammed him by saying “mine mafias” are ruling the roost in the State politics.
In a Press conference here, Jena told reporters that he is unable to prosper in politics because “mine looters” are active in all political parties in the state including the Congress over the last 15 years.
However, Jena didn’t mention the name of Niranjan Patnaik but his statement obviously targeted at Patnaik who belongs to a family of mining leaseholders.
No wonder, Patnaik was quick to hit back at Jena, saying the latter knew best who mine mafias are as he was a Minister at the Centre. Why did not Jena as a Union Minister ensure a CBI inquiry into the mining scam which he is demanding now? Patnaik questioned.
Patnaik remarked that there are two kinds of mine looters, one who actually extracted ores illegally and the other who looted mines without being mine leaseholders.
Jena told reporters that Rs 2 lakh crore has been looted due to illegal mining in the last 15 years. He demanded that the Government take over all mines and extract ores.