Narendra Modi's minister convicted in illegal limestone mining

Last Updated: Sun, Jun 16, 2013 05:36 hrs

In a yet another blow to Narendra Modi's Gujarat government, the state water resources minister Babu Bokhiria was convicted in a Rs 54.80-crore illegal limestone mining case by a court in Porbandar on Saturday.The court sentenced Bokhiria, along with former Congress MP Bharat Odedara, alleged gangster Bhima Dula Odedara, and his son Lakshman Dula Odedara to three years imprisonment and a  fine of Rs 5,000 each.

Having won a seat for himself in the recent state assembly elections of December 2012, Bokhiria was made a Cabinet minister in the Modi government in Gujarat.The case is a result of a complaint filed in 2006 by Saurashtra Chemical Company's manager Umesh Bhavsar alleging the four had illegally mined limestone from the land where the company held mining rights in Porbandar.

According to Bhavsar in the compliant, the company had incurred losses worth Rs 54.80 crore due to illegal mining of limestone by the four.

In 2007, Bokhiria had been arrested by the local police in Porbandar after he was declared absconding, for leaving the country post the complaint. Bokhiria was later released on bail by the high court.However, while Bokhiria and the others have been convicted in a Rs 54.80 crore case, there are still other complaints against them totaling losses worth Rs 400 crore due to illegal mining.

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