Union Minister for Environment and Forests (MoEF) Jayanti Natarajan on Wednesday termed Goa government's action against all 93 mining leases in the state, after the Justice MB Shah Commission report, as a "whitewash".
"The Shah Commission tabled its report on September 7. Within two days, the Goa chief minister issued order suspending licences of mines, which is a complete whitewash," she told reporters in Panjim.
"He is trying to fool and whitewash by pretending that he is taking action. Under which act has he suspended the permissions for all the 93 mining leases," she asked.
She said that the action by Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar is a 'fraud' on the people of the country.
A day after the Shah Commission report on Goa's illegal mining was tabled in the Parliament, the Goa government suspended all mining leases, asking mine owners to approach the Directorate of Mines and Geology with proper documents.
She alleged that the state government was trying to usurp the rights of the union government.
"We want to know whether he wants to take power of the central government under the environment act, forest act and other central acts," she said.
Responding to a question, she said that MoEF had written to the state government on several instances about the illegal mining in Goa.
"On several occasions, I have raised with the chief minister the very same issues of illegal mining, and not received any replies," the minister claimed.
Taking a dig at Goa government's order which has allowed the export of ore already extracted, she said that if the ore was extracted through illegal mining, than it should be confiscated and not allowed to be exported.