New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Goa Government on a plea for cancellation of bail granted to suspended NCP leader Jitendra Deshprabhu who was arrested in connection with an illegal mining case.
A bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar also issued notice to Deshprabhu, who is accused of illegally extracting iron ore in his property in Pernem taluka, on the petition filed by a Goa resident Kashinath Shetye seeking to
set aside the bail granted to him by the Bombay High Court.
The Crime Branch has also booked case against Geetesh Naik, a contractor employed by Deshprabhu, Director of State Mines and Geology Department Arvind Lolienkar, Director of Transport Arun Desai and Chief Wildlife Warden Shashi Kumar in connection with the case.
The petition filed through advocate Devadatt Kamat contended that the high court failed to appreciate that the matter pertains to illegal mining/extraction of minerals worth crores of rupees in Goa.
It said the offence committed by Deshprabhu included illegal extraction of herculean amount of minerals without obtaining the requite approvals, causing enormous loss to the public exchequer.
Secondly, the petition said, the Goa bench of the high court did not appreciate that Shetye and other petitioners were not only the original complainants/informants who brought to light the said incidence, but were also being threatened and pressurised by Deshmukh to withdraw their Complaint.
"As such, keeping in the mind the security of the whistleblower and the kind of threats that were given to them, the high court ought not to have entertained the bail application filed by the accused," the petition said, while seeking to set aside the bail granted to Deshmukh on August 16 last.
The petition said that Shetya had also challenged the grant of bail to Geetesh Naik on which the apex court has already issued notice to the state government on November 8, last year.
Deshprabhu was arrested by Crime Branch on August 4 last after his anticipatory bail petition was rejected by the Additional Principle District and Sessions Court.
Shetya had filed a complaint on February 13, last year with the Directorate of Vigilance Anti Corruption Bureau, Altinho, Panjim seeking appropriate inquiry/actions against illegal mining being carried out in Korgao, Pernem.