Goa mining scam: Kamat not named in PAC report?
Pressure is mounting on Chief Minister Digamber Kamat to resign after the Public Accounts Committee of Goa Assembly has recommended an enquiry by CBI or the lokayukta against all those indicted by it in the illegal mining cases.
Panaji: The Goa legislative Assembly`s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), chaired by Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, probing the state`s illegal mining, has linked only one politician to the Rs.3,500 crore scam but not Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, sources said Wednesday.
Operative portions of the report leaked to the media, name neither Kamat, who has been heading the mining portfolio for the last twelve years, nor ministers Joaquim Alemao and Vishwajeet Rane, who have been named by Parrikar at other forums as being involved in illegal mining.
"How much involvement of various politicians does exist, what is the illegality quantum, can only be brought to light if a criminal investigation is conducted," a source said, adding that the PAC report has asked for a Central Bureau of Investigation or a Lokayukta probe into the scam.
"Whatever I know from media reports is that PAC report does not the carry name of the Goa chief minister. I can assure you that the Goa government is not involved in it," union Mines Minister Dinsha Patel told a TV channel in New Delhi.
According to official sources, the PAC report is however indicative of the involvement of politicians in the scam on the basis of `reasonable doubt`.
"Reasonable doubt prevails that influential politicians including ministers... are deeply involved," the report states.
The report mentions former Nationalist Congress Party national secretary Jitendra Deshprabhu, arrested by the Goa Crime Branch for his involvement in illegal mining, said a source.
"The Goa government and politicians in power are squarely responsible for such environmental degradation being presently undertaken by illegal mining operations," the report states.
"Illegal mining in Goa is being carried out with the active connivance of the politicians in power, the directorate of mines and the Indian Bureau of Mines," said the source.
The report also severely indicts top Indian Administrative Service officials, who were earlier posted as secretaries in the mining and the forest departments, without naming any.
Besides, several top mining firms including Sesa Goa, Chowgule and Group, Sociedade Timblo, among nearly 25 others, are also accused, sources said.
Out of the 54.45 million tonnes of iron ore exported out of Goa last fiscal, the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters` Association, with nearly 30 odd members, exported about 47.23 million metric tonnes annually, while the rest of 7.22 million tonnes was dubiously sourced.