The government, already under attack for the coal block allocation scam, may have to answer a few uncomfortable questions on what was behind its sudden decision to shunt out mines secretary Vishwapati Trivedi to the inland waterways authority.
The timing of Trivedi’s surprise exit from the mines department has raised eyebrows over whether the government has held him responsible for having bypassed the Union cabinet and paved the way for tabling the Justice MB Shah Commission report in Parliament on September 7.
The report has made strong comments on the manner in which mining leases were granted in violation of rules, laws and procedures.
The Commission’s report put the onus directly on the earlier Goa governments headed by Pratapsingh Rane and Digambar Kamat — both from the Congress — and the central environment ministry for allowing illegal mining mushroom in the state.
A week after the report was tabled, the cabinet on September 14 — the same day the government cleared big-bang reforms on the FDI in multi-brand retail and aviation — debated why the Commission’s report was tabled without seeking the prior approval of the cabinet, sources told HT requesting anonymity.
Days later, Trivedi was given the marching orders from mines ministry and shunted out as Chairman of Inland Waterways Authority. Mines minister Dinsha Patel could not be contacted.
Trivedi refused to be drawn into the issue. "I have demitted office of the mines ministry and and would not comment," he told HT.
Significantly, days after the report was tabled in Parliament, the Union ministry of environment and forests, suspended 93 mining licences in Goa.