Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Mar 3:
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court today took up for hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) jointly filed by eminent social activist and Odisha president of Lok Shakti Abhiyan (LSA) Prafulla Samantara and Kalpana Jena (also of the LSA) seeking a court order for a CBI probe into the whopping Rs 60,000 crore mining scam in Odisha, as recommended by the Justice MB Shah Commission of inquiry.
The Bench, however, has posted the matter for further hearing on March 24, sources said.
In their petition, Samantara and Jena have appealed to the apex court to both order and monitor a CBI inquiry into the huge scam because top politicians and bureaucrats in Odisha are allegedly involved in it.
The counsels for the petitioners, eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan and senior lawyer Suresh Tripathy argued strongly in favour of a CBI probe into the scam. They also pleaded with the Bench to issue of a notice to the Odisha government in the matter.
The mining operators who are opposed to a CBI probe into the scam, had a some of the country’s top lawyers like Ram Jethmalani, KK Venugopal and Mukul Rohtagi to defend their case.
The three lawyers raised preliminary objections with regard to the maintainability of the PIL , arguing that there can not be any PIL based upon a report submitted by a commission headed by a Judge under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952.
After hearing both sides, the three-member bench headed by Justice AK Patnaik and comprising two accompanying judges, Justices M.Khalifulla and SC Neejar, have posted the PIL for further hearing on March 24.