Panaji: The ruling Congress in Goa Tuesday shrugged off allegations of proximity to the multi-crore illegal mining lobby, even as it welcomed a politician arrested a day ago for a major illegal mining scam.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Subhash Shirodkar told reporters that before admitting Jitendra Deshprabhu into the party, the Congress high command had taken into consideration the fact that the ticket aspirant had been arrested by the Crime Branch in an illegal mining case.
"The high command has taken all that into consideration before inducting him in," Shirodkar said.
Deshprabhu, a former national secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), was arrested after the Goa government`s mining department found him guilty of illegal mining.
The mining department had fined Deshprabhu Rs.1.7 crore for carrying out illegal bauxite mining in Korgao village, 30 km from here, before the leader was arrested by the Crime Branch after a right to information (RTI) activist filed a criminal complaint against him.
The Congress-led coalition government led by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat has come under severe criticism over the issue of illegal mining here, with civil society groups as well as the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleging a massive scam and involvement of several cabinet ministers.
Senior BJP leaders have directly accused Kamat for the Rs.25,000 crore illegal mining scam, which is already being probed by a judicial commission led by Justice M.B. Shah, which is also investigating illegal mining in other parts of the country.