The SIT of Goa crime branch today sought more time from a court here to reply on the anticipatory bail petition filed by former state Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, an accused in an illegal mining case. When Kamat’s bail application came up for hearing before principal district and sessions judge Irshad Agha, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) submitted that it requires more time to file its reply on the plea. Kamat had been summoned by the SIT on April 24. However, prior to his questioning, he had moved the anticipatory bail plea before the district court. The court had granted interim anticipatory bail to him that day and fixed the matter for hearing for today. Although the court had asked the SIT to file its reply today, the latter sought more time. The court has now fixed the next hearing on May 12.The veteran Congressman, who is named in the FIR filed by the crime branch in the case, had appeared before the SIT on April 24, which had questioned him in this connection.
The SIT had also questioned him in February 2014. According to the report of the Justice (retd) M B Shah Commission, illegal mining to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore had taken place in Goa between 2005 and 2012. A complaint had been filed by the Mines and Geology Department in July 2013, seeking to fix criminal liability against those involved in illegal mining as pointed out by various committees, including the Centre-appointed Shah Commission.The crime branch had 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 other officials of the department, mining firms, among 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 the state legislative assembly’s Public Accounts Committee had also confirmed illegal mining in the state.