The belated decision of the Shipping Ministry to recommend a CBI probe into the MV Black Rose ship which had sunk off Paradip coast in September 2009 has kicked up on a political row here even as the Chairman, Paradip Port Mr Rinkesh Ray confirmed involvement of several agencies and that the documents deposited by the vessel were forged.
The timing of the recommendation after years of delay and several letters by the Paradip Port Trust has however raised eyebrows in political circles here with allegations of political vendetta being attributed to it since the perception is that a BJD MLA had links with the iron ore that was being shipped.
What is even more important is that the state government had ordered a crime branch probe in to the Black Rose incident and nothing much had come out of it prompting the opposition Congress to allege a cover-up.
Trustees of Paradip Port had also demanded a CBI probe since long. Port chairman Mr Ray confirmed that the ministry has issued a letter to the CBI for a probe and that the port will cooperate with the investigations.
The document which had deposited by the owner of the ship was forged and fake. It is criminal activity. Several agencies including agents were involved in sending consignments of iron ore, owner of the vessel who is based abroad, he noted while justifying the need for a central agency to probe into the matter.
BJP leader Samir Mohanty today alleged that the iron ore loaded on to the illegal vessel was of a firm in which a ruling BJD leader is involved. The CM Naveen Patnaik had used the crime branch to cover-up the matter, he charged.
Congress leader Ashok Samal alleged that everyone in Odisha knew about the scam a decade ago and yet the BJP was silent because the mining lobby had managed several BJP leaders. With elections round the corner, the BJP is trying to befool people and target a few BJD leaders, he charged.
Significantly veteran ruling BJD leader Damodar Rout said he had been raising the issue since long. If the CBI asks me, I will provide whatever information I have, he said adding how is it that the state crime branch failed to unearth the mystery of the illegal vessel and the consignment.
The ruling BJD put up a brave front saying the BJP is often in the habit of linking the BJD to every single issue.
The Mongolian vessel, MV Black Rose sank 5 kms off the Paradip port on 9 September, 2009.
A report from Paradip said the port authorities had earlier submitted detailed status report of court cases filed in this regard to the Union Ministry of Shipping.
PPT had also written to the Union Government seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident as per the demand by the trust board members.
Trustee of PPT Mr Pratap Mishra said the CBI probe will open a can of worms and several high profile names will come out.
It may be recalled that earlier, CID sleuths conducted inquiry and had identified the owner of Black Rose as Se Cook.
Pravat Kumar Nanda, the then secretary of PPT had filed a case against owner of the vessel and the shipping agent. A case has been registered for cheating and forgery against the Singapore-based Black Rose Maritime Ltd, the owner of Black Rose; Pacmar Shipping Private Ltd the vessel’s management company, also based in Singapore and Hong Kong-based charter company, Devi Trading Company Ltd.