Panaji, Apr 2 (PTI) Former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said today he has not been indicted by courts in any of the cases related to the mining scam in which he has been named a key accused.
The Congress leader, who was chief minister from 2007 to 2012, has been named a key accused in several charge-sheets filed by the Goa Police’s Crime Branch in connection with the multi-crore scam.
“No court judgement has indicted me in the mining scam. The Supreme Court, which passed strictures against the BJP-led government (while quashing mining leases), never passed any such thing against my government,” Kamat said.
“My government did not stop mining activity. In fact, my government was responsible for ensuring that there was enough money in the hands of every mining-dependent person and their (those working in the sector) livelihood was protected,” he said.
Kamat was addressing a press meet, where outgoing Goa Congress president Shantaram Naik was also present.
The mining industry in Goa faced a severe jolt in 2012 when the Supreme Court banned mining activities after massive irregularities in the sector came to light.
The key industry, which resumed operations in 2015 following lifting of the ban, is facing a fresh crisis since mid-March after the apex court quashed 88 mining leases.
Kamat said he has a solution to the current crisis but declined to reveal its contours.
The former chief minister said he will not give any suggestion to the BJP-led government in Goa on how to deal with the crisis though he knows ways to handle the situation.
” have the capacity to handle the mining crisis. But why should I give suggestions to the government? If the Congress forms a government in Goa in future, then I will disclose it (the solution),” he said, responding to a query.
“One requires will power and intelligence to handle such a situation,” the Congress leader maintained.
Kamat said he showed his will power, when as chief minister, he scrapped the government’s special economic zone policy following opposition from the people of the state.
“Let me tell you one thing – I am the only chief minister in the entire country who (when in office) dared to scrap the SEZ policy and de-notify SEZs,” he said.
Kamat, who handled the mines portfolio when he was chief minister, has been named in nearly half a dozen cases arising out of the mining scam which was unearthed by a judicial commission.
The alleged irregularities related to mining without licence, mining outside lease area and transporting minerals illegally, resulting in losses to the exchequer.
Goa is a major exporter of iron and manganese ores.
Kamat has been booked under IPC sections related to cheating, criminal conspiracy and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Mines and Minerals Act.
The Congress leader has denied any wrongdoing.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.