The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Wednesday issued notice on a petition that challenges the decision of the Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant where they rejected a Lokayukta order which directed a Crime Branch probe into the renewal of 88 mining leases awarded by a former BJP Chief Minister.
The writ petition was filed by NGO Goa Foundation after the offices of Governor and Chief Minister rejected the recommendations, after which the Lokayukta further sent them a special report. Goa Forward has asked for setting aside the “decisions of the two competent authorities”.
Early this year, the Goa Lokayukta in its report had directed a CBI probe into the illegal renewal of 88 mining leases in 2015 by former CM Laxmikant Parsekar and officials in the mining department (Pawan Kumar Sain, a former Mines Secretary, and Prasanna Acharya, a former Director of Mining and Geology Department).
“In its investigations, the Lokayukta focused substantially on 56 mining leases whose renewal orders were issued within the span of just one week i.e., between 6.1.2015 and 12.1.2015. In fact, 31 lease renewal orders were issued on 12.1.2015 itself — which is the very date on which the power of the state government to renew mining leases was rescinded by an ordinance requiring states to auction such leases so as to bring enhanced revenues to the public exchequer,” reads the petition by Goa Foundation.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has always maintained that “Lokayukta orders are recommendatory and not binding”.
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