STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Deogarh, 8 July
Deogarh police have  arrested four persons, including one constable, on charges of illegal iron ore exploration and smuggling from the Hilang hill under Riamal police station area.
Significantly, the four arrested persons are said to be quite influential and have good political connection.
While Mr Indu Pradhan is a senior Congress leader and ex-chairman of Riamal block; Mr Samirkant Kapardar is the son of an ex-chairman of Deogarh municipality. Mr Hatakeswar Panigrahi is the brother of the former BJP MLA of Deogarh.
Incidentally, the wife of the arrested constable Mr Maheswar Sahu is a sitting zilla parishad member representing the BJD.
The SP Dr. Satyajit Nayak informed that Mr Kapardar was given a lease for mineral exploration in a separate place. He, however, was operating beyond the lease land.
“Mr Kapardar is the mastermind of the entire business,” he said. Police have seized an SUV, three mobile phones and one proclaim machine from their possession. They also seized eight trips of iron ore from behind a dhaba at Kaunsipali village.
Police, who have registered cases under related sections of IPC and Forest Act, are looking for further details and involvement of other persons in the matter.
The seized proclaim machine belongs to one Mr Sahamud of Raipur, the Superintendent of Police informed. Meanwhile, the fact that the arrested persons had connection  with almost all major political parties including Biju Janata Dal, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party has become a matter of discussion in the region.
“All the political parties start preaching if such a matter comes up for discussion. But here, the reality is different. The leaders of all the major parties have joined hands to loot the precious mineral resources. They should be punished,” said a concerned citizen.