Cuttack (Orissa): In response to a notice, the Union Government on Monday informed the Orissa High Court that it was willing to offer all assistance required to probe the alleged mining scam in the state.
"Considering the gravity of matter and the loss sustained, if the honorable court so desires, any agency of Government of India, including CBI, can be called upon to investigate as per due procedure laid down. The Union government is willing to offer all necessary assistance in the matter," the 15-page affidavit said.
Tapan Kumar Rath, deputy controller of mines in the Bhubaneswar office of Regional Controller of Mines, also told the court in the affidavit that the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) had conducted an independent investigation and found evidence of considerable illegal mining of manganese ore and iron ore in Keonjhar district of Orissa.
Rath, on behalf of Union mines secretary, has submitted the affidavit in response to a PIL filed by one Bhabani Shankar Parija seeking a CBI probe into the multi-crore illegal mining in the state.
This is the third affidavit of the Centre to Orissa High Court expressing its willingness to provide assistance if the CBI is called upon to investigate into the scam.
At least four PILs having similar prayers are pending disposal in Orissa High Court.
Quoting a report from Orissa government, the affidavit said at least 2,823 cases of illegal mining activities were detected from 2005-06 to June 2009. During this period, at least 1,594 vehicles were seized and Rs 1,672.69 lakh have been realized as penalty, compounding fee and cost of mineral.
It has further stated that at least 128 mining operations for various minerals have been suspended in Orissa during this period and 482 licenses granted by the State government for trading and storage of minerals have been cancelled.