Former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat and two key bureaucrats have been indicted by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission, which has established a Rs.35,000 crore iron ore mining scam in the state.
Justice Shah, in his voluminous report which was tabled in parliament Friday, has said that Kamat, mines secretary Rajeev Yaduvanshi and director of mines Arvind Lolienkar at the time were primarily responsible in allowing the large-scale illegal mining to continue despite being aware of the extent of illegalities in the period from 2006-2011, when they were at their peak.
“It is amply clear that the Hon’ble Minister of Mines and Hon’ble Chief Minister were well aware about non-compliance of conditions and other illegalities/irregularities happening in the mining sector,” Shah said, nailing then chief minister Digambar Kamat, who was also the minister for mines from 2000 to 2012.
Kamat, while speaking to reporters late Friday, said that he would comment only after reading the Shah commission report. “For now I have nothing to say,” the former Congress chief minister said.
Shah further said in his report that the file movement system in place at the time brought two other officials directly in the path of complicity in the illegal mining controversy.
“In the past there was ‘single file system’ wherein file initiates at the office of the Director of Mines and gets final approval from Hon’ble Minister concerned including the Hon’ble Chief Minster after passing through the Secretary (Mines),” Shah said.
Arvind Lolienkar, who was a director in the state mines and geology department for a majority of the period from 2006-11, has already been booked and suspended by the state government for his role in the illegal mining, which is being probed.
Rajeev Yaduvanshi, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) had served as mines secretary for a large chunk of the period from 2006-2011, during which Justice Shah claims a majority of Goa’s illegal mining occurred.
The Shah commission has also established the criminal complicity of other departments such as the Goa state pollution control board, state forest department, Indian bureau of mines and the union ministry for environment and forests in his report.
All major mining companies from Goa which includes Sesa Goa and companies run by the influential mining families in Goa namely the Timblos, Salgaonkar Chowgules, among others have been hauled up by the Shah Commission in its report.