'Illegal mining would have attracted underworld'



Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Tuesday claimed that if illegal mining had continued at the same pace in the state, it would have garnered attention of the underworld.

"If the illegalities in mining had continued, it would have attracted the underworld, given the money that was involved," Parrikar told the State Legislative Assembly today.

He was responding to the Calling Attention motion moved by BJP legislator Nilesh Cabral expressing concern over reported statement of former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice (retd) Santosh Hegde equating the illegal mining activity with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

"...Frankly speaking (this is like) many people losing their jobs if Dawood Ibrahim were to be arrested," Hegde had said on Sunday objecting to the state government's financial package proposed for the people affected due to closure of mining industry.

The Supreme Court had issued an interim stay last year on extraction and transportation of ore in the state, pending inquiry by Central Empowered Committee (CEC).

Parrikar today said that he will write to Justice Hegde expressing him the logic behind the package.

"It is humbly submitted that the perception of Justice Hegde is far from reality, as a distinction needs to be made between legal and illegal mining, after conclusion of a fair inquiry following principles of natural justice by an independent commission or otherwise," Parrikar said.

"Till such time, no baseless and unwarranted judgement can be passed regarding mining activities in Goa being completely illegal," he added.

"Justice Hegde is a person with high integrity. Whatever he said was out of misunderstanding. We are giving money to those who are involved in legal mining," the Chief Minister told the House.

Parrikar further said that Hegde should not pass remark on Goa because he does not know ground reality of the state.

"The package is designed to benefit the truck owners and the labourers rendered jobless due to mining ban. The intention of government to launch a package was to provide some financial assistance to the families of affected persons, who can live a dignified life till resumption of mining operation and to desist dependants from taking extreme steps like suicide, resort to crime and others," he said in a written statement that was read on the floor of the House.

PTI