New Delhi: Two former Congress chief ministers of Goa find themselves in the dock in the mining scam with the Justice Shah Commission indicting the Digambar Kamat government for blatant misuse of power. FIRs are likely to be registered against Digambar Kamat and Pratapsingh Rane.
According to the Justice Shah Commission report, former chief minister Kamat indulged in abuse of power and was in the know of every illegality.
The report also says that Kamat allowed certain individuals and companies to benefit at the cost of the environment.
Former Chief Ministers Digambar Kamat and Pratapsingh Rane find themselves in the dock in the mining scam.
Also, the Shah Commission has held all the top mining companies such as Sesa Goa, Salgaokar, Fomento and Chowgule in Goa guilty.
According to the report, iron ore is likely to deplete in Goa in 20 years.
For the first time in 60 years, mining, that defined Goa's political economy stands suspended. This is the fallout of the Justice MB Shah Commission report that pegged illegal mining in the state at Rs 35,000 crore and indicted the blatant abuse of power at the very top.
Adhering to the recommendation of the commission, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar decided to stop work at all the 90 mines in the state till a complete review was done.
Having the last laugh is the Chief Minister. Parrikar, as the Public Accounts Committee chief, was famously stopped from tabling the PAC report on mining by then Congress Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Assembly Speaker Pratapsingh Rane.
Kamat and Rane are now facing the prospect of arrest. Rane was the Chief Minister between 2005 and 2007, and Kamat between 2007 and 2012.
The state government will file an FIR against the two and top officials of the mines ministry in a fortnight, belying the fears expressed by activists.
Activist Calude Alvares has said in December 2011, "They have a very good understanding of the political economy today in the state of Goa. If you are friends with the right people you need not care for any rule, any court, the SC etc."
Talking about Kamat, who was the Mines Minister for nine years, the Justice Shah Commission report said, "He allowed illegal mining in the state, resulting in amassing of wealth by certain individuals and companies at the cost of environment."
The report further said that several orders passed by Kamat, including condonation of delay in renewal of mining lease, was "against the law" and "abuse of power".
"It is amply clear that he was well aware about non-compliance of conditions and other illegalities/irregularities happening in the mining sector," said the report.
The political interest in mining runs so deep that the line between violator and law enforcer has been blurred. The question is – Will this be the beginning of the much needed clean up that will stop the loot of the finite resource?