Panaji: Several owners of Goa`s 100-odd open cast iron ore mines have millions of dollars worth of black money stashed away in Swiss bank accounts, a Communist Party of India (CPI) leader said on Friday.
"Several of Goan mine owners have their black money parked in Swiss banks. Politicians are often their conduits for carrying money to safe havens," CPI state general secretary Christopher Fonseca said, referring to state Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate`s recent detention at the Mumbai airport with more than the allowed volume of foreign currency on a visit to Dubai.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Fonseca said: "The promised WikiLeaks expose on black money stashed in Swiss banks by Indian businessmen and politicians is bound to have names from Goa in it."
The CPI has in the past consistently demanded that the nearly Rs 10,000 crore industry should be nationalised in order to conserve the country`s natural resources.
According to data submitted in the Goa Legislative Assembly during its monsoon session, ore worth Rs 4,000 crore was illegally mined and exported out of Goa to countries like China, Japan and Romania.
Even the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA), a forum of ore exporters who include top ore business houses, have cried hoarse about the rampant illegal mining in the state.
According to Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, nearly 18 percent of Goa`s total 45 million tonnes mining output comprises illegally mined ore. He has also accused Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and several of his cabinet ministers of being hand-in-glove with the illegal mining mafia.