'Respond to plea on CBI probe into iron ore export'

SC asks Centre to respond to plea seeking CBI probe on iron ore export within two weeks

The bench put the matter for consideration three weeks later

Representative Image. Credit: PTI File Photo

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave two weeks time to the Union government to file its response to a plea for a CBI probe into the alleged duty evasion by some companies in exporting iron ore to China since 2015. 

A bench presided over by Chief Justice N V Ramana asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to file a reply to the petition filed by advocate M L Sharma saying, "If it (the allegations) is true then it is a serious matter, which we need to look into." 

As Mehta sought two weeks' time, the bench put the matter for consideration three weeks later.

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During the hearing, the bench asked the petitioner-cum-lawyer, Sharma, to show the extent of tax evasion, saying he has to make specific averments and not implead 65 parties to the petition.

In his plea, Sharma sought the court's direction for prosecution of the companies for allegedly evading export duty by declaring a wrong tariff code to export the iron ore under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.  

He alleged that iron ore “smuggling to China” has been taking place as these companies have been exporting them without paying the 30 per cent export duty.  

He also claimed there was a violation of the Customs Act, the COFEPOSA, the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act and certain penal provisions relating to cheating and forgery.

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