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State welcomes Justice Shah Commission

Bhubaneswar: Welcoming Justice M B Shah Commission of Inquiry probing the alleged illegal mining activities in different states, Orissa government today said it would fully cooperate with members for a fair and smooth investigation.

"We are cooperating with the commission and continue to do so in the future", steel and mines minister Raghunath Mohanty told reporters a day after one of the members of the commission said at Panaji that inquiry would begin in Orissa from next month. U V Singh, a member of the Commission, had told reporters at Panaji that preparatory work was being done for begining inquiry into the mining scam in Orissa. Singh, an Indian Forest Service officer, has also said that the same team which is probing Goa mining will move to Orissa. Some local officers will join them there, he said.

Stating that the state government had already answered queries of the commission thrice before, the minister said a final set of replies would be sent to Justice Shah soon. Inquiry by Justice M B Shah Commission into the illegal mining activities in significant as this would be first "independent" body to probe the matter. Earlier, the state vigilance department was assigned investigation into the multi-crore mining scam in the state.

The state government had several times rejected demand of conducting a CBI probe into the alleged scam by claiming that the state vigilance was efficient enough to undertake such an investigation.

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