Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that a decision on handing over the illegal mining case, in which former CM Digambar Kamat is under scanner, to the CBI will be taken only after the SIT submits its investigation report.
Kamat, a former chief minister, who held mining portfolio is being investigated by the Crime Branch along with several officials from the mines and geology department and mining firms in connection with illegal mining in the state between 2005-2012. Parrikar said that the state government has not yet taken any decision on handing over the inquiry to CBI.
“Let the special investigation team which is probing the illegal mining scam give me the report. Then we will take a call on handing over the inquiry to CBI,” Parrikar told reporters today in Panaji.
“There are complex issues involved in it. The government is going through it (the case),” Parrikar said. The special investigation team of crime branch has been investigating the complaint by State Mines and Geology department in connection with illegal mining in the state between 2005-2012.
Former Mines and Geology department director Arvind Lolienkar was arrested by SIT in March 2014. A report of Justice (retd) M B Shah Commission had earlier stated that illegal mining to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore took place in Goa from 2005 to 2012. The Supreme Court, based on the findings of the Shah Commission report, had banned iron ore extraction in the state.
A complaint was filed by the Mines and Geology Department in July 2013 seeking to fix criminal liability on those involved in the illegal mining as pointed out by various committees, including the centre-appointed Shah Commission. The crime branch then registered an FIR in August 2013 against those named in various reports (Shah Commission and other committees) including Kamat, Lolienkar, and some other officials of the department, mining firms and others.
The FIR was registered under various IPC sections, including 120 (b) (conspiracy), 166 (public servant disobeying law), relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act, Mines and Minerals Development Act, Mineral Conservation and Development Rules and Goa Prevention of Illegal Mining Transportation, Storage of Minerals Rules 2004. Based on the complaint, the SIT was formed by the then BJP government to probe the case.
An apex court appointed Central Empowered Committee and state Legislative Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee had also confirmed illegal mining in the state.