State files affidavit, opposes CBI probe
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The state Steel and Mines department has filed a fresh affidavit before the Orissa High Court arguing against a CBI probe into the multi-crore mining scam, three months after the HC finished hearing into a slew of PILs in the matter.
The state government's new affidavit hinges on rejection by the Karnataka High Court of a similar PIL filed before it demanding a CBI probe into the illegal mining in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts. The Karnataka HC in its order on June 3 said the the pleas raised by the petitioners have been taken care of by the Supreme Court in its order dated April 5 on a special leave to appeal .
In Orissa, the HC completed hearing on the PILs calling for a CBI probe and reserved the verdict to April 18. The court heard the last arguments from senior advocate Jayant Das who pleaded that the vigilance probe ordered by the state could be illegal as the vigilance doesn't have jurisdiction in a case involving Mining Minerals Development Regulation Act. The HC was shown digitised mining maps which could have been used by vigilance to track the mining scamsters, but were not used.
The affidavit argued that the PILs filed in Orissa HC had the same prayer as those in Karnataka. "In Orissa, the state has framed Orissa Minerals Prevention of Theft, Smuggling and Illegal Mining and Regulation of Possession, Storage, Trading and Transportation Rules, 2007 and undertaken several measures to curb illegal mining and transportation which has met approval of CEC," the affidavit said while praying the HC to take into account the latest affidavit while passing the judgment.
Steel and Mines minister Raghunath Mohanty could not explain why the affidavit was filed three months after the hearing got over.
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