After the arrest of NCP leader Jeetendra Deshprabhu in a illegal mining case here, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) constituted by the Goa Legislative Assembly, is now investigating mining leases owned by another senior party member Prafulla Hede.
The PAC-led by leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar has found out that there were 30-40 applications received to extract ore after the formal cut off date of November 23, 1988 announced by the Central government.
All the mining concessions allotted by erstwhile Portuguese power were supposed to be converted into mining leases under the Indian Act. The Central government had given a deadline of November 23, 1988 for all the mining firms to apply for the conversion, failing which they were supposed not to allow the mining.
The PAC which is probing details of mines in Goa has found out of the many that had applied after the cut off date, nearly a dozen of them are now operating illegally.
"The mine owned by NCP leader Prafulla Hede is amongst these controversial leases," Parrikar told PTI adding that almost 17 lakh metric tones of ore has been extracted till now from the mine owned by the leader.
Hede is close aide of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and has been recently appointed as Goa co-ordinator. Recently, NCP had suspended Deshprabhu after he was arrested in a illegal mining case by the Crime Branch.
The high-powered committee has now decided to go more in depth of the findings and nail the illegal mining activity.
Goa exports 54 million metric tones of ore annually to international buyers like China, European nations and even Asian countries like Pakistan.