The Special Investigation Team of the Goa Crime Branch has summoned former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on Monday in connection with investigations into the illegal mining scam, after he skipped the summons earlier week. “Kamat has been asked to remain present before Special Investigation Team of Goa Crime Branch on Monday (April 24). He would be questioned in relation with the illegal mining activity which is being investigated by us,” senior Crime Branch official told PTI today. This is the second summons issued to Kamat in connection with the case.
The veteran Congressman, who is named in the FIR filed by the Crime Branch in the case, was summoned on Tuesday (April 18) but had failed to appear before it claiming to be out of station. He was first questioned in the case by the SIT in February 2014. According to the report of Justice (retd) M B Shah Commission, illegal mining to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore took place in Goa from 2005 to 2012, when the Supreme Court banned iron ore extraction in the state.
A complaint was filed by the Mines and Geology Department in July 2013 seeking to fix criminal liability on those involved in the illegal mining as pointed out by various committees, including the Centre-appointed Shah Commission. The Crime Branch then registered an FIR in August 2013 against those named in various reports (Shah Commission and other committees) including Kamat, former Mines and geology director Arvind Lolienkar and some other officials of the department, mining firms and others.
The FIR was registered under various IPC sections, including 120 (b) (conspiracy), 166 (public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person), relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act, Mines and Minerals Development Act, Mineral Conservation and Development Rules and Goa Prevention of Illegal Mining Transportation, Storage of Minerals Rules 2004. Based on the complaint, the SIT was formed by the then BJP government to probe the case.
An apex court appointed Central Empowered Committee and State Legislative Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee had also confirmed illegal mining in the state.