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Wearing different hats as politician, chief minister: Manohar Parrikar

Posted on Apr 25 2014 | IANS

Panaji, April 25 : Goa former chief minister Digambar Kamat with other mining bigwigs is "directly involved" in multi-crore illegal mining scam in the state, according to politician Manohar Parrikar.

But according to Chief Minister Parrikar, it would take a long time to book them.

Parrikar made the distinction between his roles as a politician and a chief minister at a press conference at the state secretariat Thursday, while responding to questions on the Goa mining issue, especially after the Supreme Court Monday revoked its ban on all mining in the state.

"They are all involved. They are directly involved, especially Kamat...I have made charges as a politician. As the chief minister, I have to ask (police) to follow proper procedure before prosecuting them," Parrikar said.

He added his chores as a politician and as a chief minister amount to wearing different hats at different times.

"You seem to get confused with the hats," Parrikar quipped.

The chief minister also said that prosecution of those accused in the Goa mining scam, which Justice M.B. Shah Commission has pegged at Rs.35,000 crore, will have to wait until the state government drafts a new mining policy, as directed by the Supreme Court.

"The prosecution will have to wait until a new policy is formed," Parrikar said.

The Supreme Court has banned mining in October 2012 while hearing a petition on large scale illegalities in the mining sector in Goa.

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

Kamat has been accused of illegally renewing mining leases in 2007, all of which have been struck down as illegal by the apex court.

When the mining industry was at its peak, over 55 million tonnes of iron ore was exported from the state's only major port in 2011.

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