Even as the Cong-ress members of the Goa legislature’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) looking into illegal mining rejected the panel’s report on Tuesday, the committee’s chairman Manohar Parrikar said he would submit the report to the state legislature today.
Though Parrikar refused to divulge the details of the report, there was speculation on Tuesday that it was likely to expose the nexus between politicians, government officials and mining companies in the multi-crore trade.
There were also theories doing the rounds that the report would likely demand an independent probe by investigative agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a Special Investigative Team (SIT) to bring to account influential people who have benefited from illegal mining.
While it was unclear if the report would mention names, speculation was rife that it might expose the nexus between politicians, government officials and mining companies, refer to delays in renewing mining leases that were condoned by the authorities and document violations by mining firms such as extraction of ore in excess of what was permitted without clearances.
HT has, in a series of reports, revealed how illegal mining has cost Goa Rs 3,000 crore. Parrikar had told this paper that at least half the mines in Goa were illegal. HT has also reported how local politicians are part of the mining business.
Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat refused to comment on the PAC report but told HT that the state government alone could not be held responsible for violations. “The difference between exports and ore produced (or extent of illegality) is between 2% and 3%,” he said.
It is not certain if the report will be tabled in the Assembly. On Tuesday, Congress members of the PAC who form a majority in the seven-member panel did not sign on the report.
Parrikar said he would nevertheless submit the report to the Speaker. “The Congress wants to go soft on illegal mining. Why are they running scared of the report? It is because they know the report is based on government records and cannot be rejected as false,” he said.