Politics Hot Over Ship

Politics over sunken ship hot up with the opposition BJP and Congress today accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of protecting some people who were involved with the Black Rose ship that sunk in Paradip Port nine years ago.

Both BJP and Congress alleged that the brother of an ‘influential’ lawmaker ‘close to the Chief Minister’ was involved in the incident.

BJP vice president Sameer Mohanty accused the brother of Jajpur MLA as being directly involved in the ‘illegal’ activity.

“It is evident now that the Chief Minister is trying to shield him as he is the brother of the MLA who is close to him,” Mr.Mohanty told reporters.
Saffron Lawmaker Pradeep Purohit said, “The proposed CBI investigation is welcome as the Central Agency’s scope of investigation is wide. Besides, the Crime Branch has not been successful in unearthing the facts leading to the mishap.”
Congress leader Ashok Samal too accused the Chief Minister of shielding the MLA’s brother.

Meanwhile, the PPT Chairman, while assuring all cooperation to the CBI in the case, revealed that the ship had entered the Port without valid documents.

He said two trustees of the PPT Board had demanded a CBI inquiry into the sinking of the ship.

“It seems more than one person is involved in the illegal cargo business,” Mr.Roy added.

However, Biju Janata Dal leaders described handing over of the probe to CBI as politically motivated when the State Crime Branch and other agencies have investigated it.
BJD Spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb told reporters that the Crime Branch has already submitted the final charge sheet and the case is pending in the court.
He said, “The letter by the Shipping Ministry for a CBI probe also mentions about the recommendations of Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Why was the Centre not active for the past four years in the case,” he asked.
Notably, the ship with Mongolian flag was carrying 23,843 tonnes iron ore cargo apart from 947 metric tonnes of inflammable furnace oil to Paradip before sinking on September 9, 2009.
The wet iron ore loaded during heavy rain, listing of the ship and bad weather have been attributed as some of the causes of the capsizing of the vessel.
Alexander Liosiko, 45, the Chief Engineer of the ship 'Black Rose' drowned as he tried till the last to save the vessel from going down in the Bay of Bengal.

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