Press Trust of India reported that India’s Supreme Court has asked Indian government to file its response in two weeks to a PIL seeking a direction to the CBI to register an FIR and probe the alleged duty evasion by 61 iron exporting firms in exporting iron ore, probably pellets, to China since 2015. The bench was told that iron ore smuggling to China has been taking place as these companies have been exporting them without paying 30% export duty. A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, which was initially of the view that a fresh petition was needed to be filed after withdrawing the present one, later asked the Centre to file its counter affidavit on the PIL filed by lawyer Mr ML Sharma in his personal capacity. The bench said “This is a serious issue and if it's, true then it's a serious matter which we need to look into. Is there any truth to it?" Besides the Union ministries and the CBI, the top court had issued notices to 61 firms including Brahmani River Rellets Ltd, Rashmi Metaliks Ltd, Jindal Saw Ltd, Essar Power (Orissa) Ltd and JSW Steel Ltd. The PIL said under Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992, tariff HS CODE NO 26011100 was prescribed to export all other kind of iron ore subject to payment of export duty at the rate of 30% but the firms were wrongly allowed to export iron ore using the tariff code 26011210 which is exclusively prescribed for KIOCL and as a result crores of rupees have been cheated by them PIL said “The ministries of commerce and finance, customs department and 61 companies have been hand-in-glove and the firms have been smuggling iron ore to China in violation of various laws by using Tariff HS Code 26011210 instead of 26011100 and evading 30% export duties since 2015 till date” Mr Sharma had said that the companies be prosecuted for alleged evasion of export duty by declaring wrong tariff code to export the iron ore under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.