New Delhi: Congress leader Srikant Jena Monday demanded the resignation of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for “collusion” in the mining scam in the state.
Talking to mediapersons here, Jena, a Congress leader from Odisha, said that imposition of Rs.58,000 crore penalty by the state government on mining operators showed that the scam had been taking place for the last 10 years.
Jena, who is union minister of state (independent charge), statistics and programme implementation, claimed that the loss to exchequer due to scam was “to the tune of Rs.4 lakh crore”.
Asked if his accusations against Patnaik had the backing of the Congress central leadership which may be looking for support from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the winter session of parliament to counter the opposition’s motion on foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, Jena admitted that the ruling party in Odisha had not taken a political position on the issue.
Jena, however, said that the state Congress had passed a resolution against illegal mining.
“He (Patnaik) does not have a right to stay on as the chief minister. There is a collusion between the chief minister, ministers and the mining department,” Jena said.
He added that if the Patnaik government had taken corrective measures, economic situation in Odisha would have been transformed.
Asked about the alleged involvement of a relative of a Congress leader, Jena said the law should take its own course.