The Cabinet on Thursday approved making public the Justice MB Shah Commission of Enquiry’s report on illegal mining in Orissa, paving the way for it to be tabled in Parliament.
The Cabinet approved the action taken report (ATR) on the recommendations, in which the panel has demanded a comprehensive CBI probe into all reported cases of illegal mining during 2008-2011, including the FIRs lodged by the police and vigilance departments.
However, the Orissa government has ruled out the suggestion saying that its own police and administrative machinery is adequately geared to handle all illegal mining cases. Asking that the losses to the exchequer, to the tune of about Rs 60,000 crore, should be recovered from the miners, the Shah Commission, which was set up in 2012 on the Supreme Court’s order, had observed that it appeared that law had been rendered helpless because of its systematic non-implementation.
In its report submitted to the mines ministry, the panel has also traced how illegal miners produce false excise certificates to claim lower freight rates from the Railways. Freight evasion amounted to around Rs 2,000 crore, it said and demanded a full-fledged CBI probe into the issue. Agreeing to the recommendation, the railways have asked the probe agency to inquire into the issue of freight evasion by at least 17 companies.