Illegal mining: Goa BJP admits lapses in its rule

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Old 29-Sep-2011
Post Illegal mining: Goa BJP admits lapses in its rule

Panaji: The BJP on Wednesday admitted its own Chief Minister in Goa Manohar Parrikar was "negligent" in stopping the illegal export of iron ore during his tenure.

It was also a mistake to give Mines portfolio to Digambar Kamat, then a Minister in the BJP Government, Goa BJP President Laxmikant Parsekar said at a press conference here.

Kamat later joined the Congress and is now the Chief Minister and at the centre of a multi-crore mining scam.

"We did not know that he (Kamat) was making money from the Mines portfolio," Parsekar said.

Asked further about the issue, he said "it was negligence on part of Parrikar, then Chief Minister, to let this (illegal export of iron ore) happen."

Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) has pointed out that from 2004 to 2006, 10.9 million metric tonnes of iron ore was exported from the state's ports without paying royalty.

BJP was in power in the coastal state from June 2002 to February 2005.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC), headed by Parrikar, is investigating the illegal iron ore trade in the state.

Responding to another query, Parsekar further admitted that there is a possibility of a few BJP supporters or well wishers being involved in the illegal mining trade.

"I don't say our workers are not in the mining trade. If 80 per cent (of those in the trade) are from Congress, there could be 20 per cent from our party. But we don't support them," he said.

The main Opposition party has demanded the resignation of Kamat over the illegal mining trade.

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