Anti-mining groups in Goa Friday alleged that a Congress minister and a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator were both sheltering illegal mining operations in a wildlife sanctuary.
They said the authorities were unable to act against the illegal mining of iron ore in the 211 sq km forest reserve.
Addressing a press conference, representatives of several groups named the Congress minister as Joaquim Alemao and the BJP legislator as Vasudev Gaonkar.
"The urban development minister and Gaonkar are sheltering the illegal mining operation," said Sebastian Fernandes, convenor of GoaMAP, a leading anti-mining outfit.
"They are extracting and transporting ore illegally from the heart of the Netravali sanctuary. Nearly 2-3,000 tones of iron ore have already been stolen," added Dilip Hegde, another leading activist.
Alemao, brother of former chief minister Churchill Alemao, has in the past been accused of illegal mining by the opposition. But this is the first time a BJP legislator has been directly linked to illegal mining in Goa.