Goa panel to probe illegal mining a sham, says Congress

Last Updated: Wed, Jul 10, 2013 08:20 hrs

Panaji, July 10 (IANS) The state unit of the Congress party Wednesday termed as a sham the appointment by the Goa government of a panel headed by a retired high court judge to probe illegal mining in the state.

"With all due respect to Mr. Khandeparkar (retd high court Justice R.M.S. Khandeparkar)... What has his committee done? It has been more than a year. Parrikar has appointed it only to pull wool over people's eyes," Congress spokesperson Reginaldo Lourenco told reporters here.

The legislator from the South Goa constituency of Curtorim also alleged that appointing a government committee at a time when the Supreme Court was hearing a petition on illegal mining in the state smacked of impropriety.

"The Supreme Court is hearing the illegal mining case in Goa. The Supreme Court's Central Empowered Committee has probed the illegal mining scenario too. What are we doing with a retired high court judge? Does his opinion compare with that of the country's top court?" he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government in Goa, Lourenco said, completely failed to take action against those involved in illegal mining and that the Khandeparkar-headed committee was just a ruse to fool people.

The Khandeparkar committee was appointed by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar last year to verify the charges by the central government-appointed Justice M.B. Shah Commission, which had alleged a Rs.25,000 crore illegal mining scam in the state.

The Goa government, both under the Congress administration then and under the BJP regime now, has been critical of the Shah Commission report's findings and dispute its veracity.

The Khandeparkar Committee has been tasked with the objective of verifying the findings of the Shah panel report.

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