The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a ruling alliance partner of the Digambar Kamat-led government in Goa, has demanded a thorough probe against officials allegedly involved in the state mining scam pegged at Rs10,000 crore by a Congress legislator.
"The NCP is extremely concerned about the plunder of national wealth due to illegal mining, which is threatening the fabric of Goa. The entire mining department and its officials are involved. They should be probed thoroughly," party general secretary Avinash Bhosle said on Friday.
"People in prime positions are involved in the scandal. Prima facie they are guilty and strict action should be taken against them. NGOs have done exemplary work in exposing the mining scandal," said Bhosle, whose party has two ministers in the 12-member cabinet.
The Justice MB Shah Commission, appointed by the Supreme Court to probe illegal mining in India, was in Goa for the last few days visiting controversial mining leases, interviewing bureaucrats and inspecting documents related to extraction and export of iron ore from the more than 100 operational iron ore mines in the state.
In his deposition to the Shah commission Sep 17, former deputy chief minister and ruling Congress legislator Dayanand Narvekar pegged Goa's mining scam at Rs10,000 crore.
Insisting there were no illegalities but only possible 'irregularities' in the mining sector, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Subhash Shirodkar said: "There is a great deal of difference between illegalities and irregularities in mining."
The Bharatiya Janata Party, the principal opposition in Goa, has been surprisingly silent vis-a-vis fixing political accountability in the multi-crore rupee mining scam, with activists even suggesting that the party was complicit with Kamat on the issue.
Kamat has been heading the Goa mines ministry for nearly 12 years now.