Orissa govt files counter affidavit opposing PILs

Cuttack: A counter affidavit was filed by the Orissa government in the high court today opposing PILs seeking a CBI probe into the multi-crore rupees mining scam in the state.

Placing the government's 126-page counter affidavit before the division bench of Chief Justice V Gopal Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra, senior Supreme Court lawyer Mukul Rohtogi said there are no specific charges levelled against any individual or organisation in the PILs necessitating a CBI probe.

Questioning the merits of the PILs, he said the points raised in the petitions are "vague", "general" and based on newspaper reports and suggested that instead of a CBI probe the ongoing vigilance inquiry into illegal mining in the state could be monitored by the high court on a regular basis.

At least seven PILs were filed in the high court seeking CBI probe into rampant illegal mining in the state. Of them, only four petitions have been taken into cognizance and are being adjudicated over jointly.

Rohtogi, former additional solicitor general, also placed before the court the interim report of Central Empowerment Committee which acknowledged that corrective steps had been taken by Orissa government to check illegal mining.

The court adjourned the case for hearing on February one.

Meanwhile, the state Vigilance directorate filed one more status report with details of the progress it has made till date regarding investigation into the cases registered by it.

The government in response to the notices issued to it by the HC had earlier submitted affidavit opposing the PILs and stating that the demands for CBI probe was 'uncalled for' as a judicial commission of inquiry headed by a retired judge of Supreme Court has already been appointed.

It had also informed the court that the state vigilance directorate probing the scam is capable enough to nail the illegal miners. The government had also pointed out that it had taken several corrective measures to check illegal mining in the State.