Centre gets 3 weeks to respond to plea against mining leases

New Delhi, Aug 2 (PTI) The Supreme Court Friday granted three weeks' time to the Centre to respond to a plea seeking quashing of allotment, extension or continuation of leases to firms for mining iron ore from over 358 mines across the country without any fresh evaluation. A bench headed by Justice S A Bobde had earlier issued notice to the Centre on the petition, which has also sought a direction to the CBI to register an FIR to probe the matter. "Three weeks' time is granted to the respondents to file counter affidavit," the bench, also comprising Justice B R Gavai, said. The plea, filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, had alleged that in February this year it came to his knowledge that 288 mining leases were extended in exchange of "large donations" which has created a "serious financial loss" to the tune of Rs 4 lakhs crore to public exchequer. The petitioner had claimed that leases have been either granted or extended to the firms for mining iron ore in over 358 mines without any fresh evaluation or adopting the auction process. PTI PKS SJK RHL