Orissa High Court: CBI Affidavit Reveals Stalled Probe into MV Black Rose Ship Sinking

CBI seeks probe into MV Black Rose ship sinking off Paradip coast. Odisha govt delays permission. RTI activist demands action.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently submitted an affidavit to the High Court of Orissa regarding the MV Black Rose ship sinking case, a sensational incident that occurred on September 9, 2009. The affidavit disclosed that despite the shipping ministry's recommendations, the CBI had twice sought permission from the Odisha government to investigate the case. The first request was made in November 2019, followed by a reminder two months later when there was no response from the state government.

However, despite these efforts, the Odisha government has yet to grant permission for the CBI to probe the sinking of the Mongolian cargo ship Black Rose, which sank off the coast of Paradip under mysterious circumstances. The sinking of the ship, carrying a cargo of iron ore and furnace oil, has potential international ramifications.

The submission of the affidavit by the CBI was met with initial objections from the Advocate General of the Odisha government. Despite this, the CBI proceeded with the submission, citing the state government's reluctance to grant permission to the central probe agency.

Meanwhile, an RTI activist named Pradeep Pradhan filed a petition urging the court to direct a CBI investigation into the case. However, objections were raised during the hearing regarding Pradeep Pradhan's credibility. The Odisha government argued that Pradhan had malicious intent and multiple pending criminal cases against him. In response, the court requested Pradhan to file an affidavit addressing the allegations against him.

The sinking of the MV Black Rose remains shrouded in mystery, with the vessel going down five kilometers off the Paradip coast. While 26 crew members were rescued, the chief engineer lost his life in the incident. Allegations emerged from political opposition parties in Odisha, accusing the vessel of engaging in illegal transportation of iron ore and other minerals through forged documents. Furthermore, it was alleged that the Black Rose was used to transport iron ore for sponge (iron) plants owned by some BJD leaders, also through forged documents.

The case has significant implications, not only in terms of maritime safety and legality but also regarding the integrity of political figures and the governance system in Odisha. The delay in granting permission for a CBI investigation raises questions about the transparency and accountability of the state government's actions.