BJP dodges questions over ‘big fish’ in mining scam

Panaji, April 22: The Goa BJP Tuesday dodged questions over the Manohar Parrikar government’s reluctance to arrest the “big fish” in connection with the Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam in the state.

Bharatiya Janata Party legislators Pramod Sawant, Subhash Phaldesai and state party president Vinay Tendulkar also refused to commit to the arrest of former chief minister Digambar Kamat, who has been indicted in a judicial commission investigation and was repeatedly linked by the BJP to the mining scam.

“Police are still collecting evidence. There is time,” Phaldesai said, when asked why the BJP-led government was slow to crack down on the big sharks, even as the government has arrested six people, mostly low-level iron ore traders and minor bureaucrats.

Phaldesai also shied away from questions related to Kamat.

“I am sure those who are responsible will be arrested,” he said.

Mining in Goa was banned in October 2012 by the apex court while hearing a petition on large scale illegalities in the mining sector.

The central government-appointed Justice M.B. Shah Commission has exposed a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam in Goa, in which politicians, bureaucrats and mining company magnates are linked.

IANS