The district court in Panaji on Monday granted interim anticipatory bail to Goa’s former chief minister Digambar Kamat, facing a probe in the illegal mining scam case. Judge Irshad Agha, while granting interim relief to Kamat, fixed November 27 for the next hearing of the Congress leader’s application for pre-arrest bail. A special investigation team of the Goa Crime Branch has summoned Kamat for questioning on Tuesday.
The court, in Monday’s order, said, in case of his arrest by the SIT, he should be bailed out on a personal bond of Rs one lakh and a surety of the like amount.
Advocate Sivan Desai, Kamat’s lawyer, told reporters that the Crime branch did not submit its reply to Kamat’s plea during the hearing on Monday. He also said the court was informed about attempts by the SIT to arrest Kamat on Saturday night even as his anticipatory bail plea was pending before the court. Prosecutor G Kirtani, however, denied there was any attempt to arrest Kamat.
The SIT is investigating Kamat’s role in a case filed in September 2014 against mine owner Prafulla Hede. It has been alleged that the delay in the renewal of the lease for a mine at Collem in South Goa was condoned by the government in an irregular manner when Kamat was holding mining portfolio.
Justice M B Shah Commission, which probed alleged rampant illegal mining in Goa, had observed in its report that several mining companies were allowed to fraudulently use the provision of condoning the delay in renewal of mining lease.
Apart from Hede, some government officials are also named as accused in the case. The SIT has questioned several officials, including former principal mines secretary of the state Rajiv Yaduvanshi.