KENDRAPADA: It is one of the most prominent Buddhist sites in the state but these days the Udayagiri hill in is at the mercy of pickaxes and spades as illegal stone quarrying poses a threat to the ancient site. And running this operation is arrested gangster Syed Usman Ali, alias Tito, and his . Their involvement came to light after the seizure of some incriminating documents from the office at Darapani in the district.

“During investigation we found that Tito and his associates along with other mafias minted crores from illegal stone-quarrying in the hillocks of Manduka, Achutabasant, Asihagda, Charinangal, Majhipada, Chandia, and Udayagiri. We also came to know that some officials, violating the law, leased out some of the hillocks to Tito‘s aides,” said deputy superintendent of police P K Nayak of the vigilance department.

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