Panaji: The Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) has called a meeting with the special investigation team (SIT) probing the Rs 35,000 crore Goa mining scam, to ascertain the technical manpower and equipment required to carry out the extensive survey of 59 mining leases. The survey is necessary to ascertain whether there was any manipulation in the extraction of iron ore.
In a letter to the SIT, IBM said the bureau’s Nagpur headquarters wants to ascertain the total work required to conduct the survey.
The SIT had written to the IBM asking it to conduct the detailed survey to ascertain whether there was actual iron ore extraction from them between 2007 and2012, and to find the approximate loss to the state exchequer.
A senior official said that it has been nearly three months but there is no progress on the issue.
The SIT’s letter to the IBM said that the survey it requested is “necessary for the purpose of investigation”.
Police said that during the investigation, it came to light that 59 mining leases were operational between 2007 to 2012, and that the SIT wants to know whether there was really extraction from those leases, or some manipulation.
The SIT completed a preliminary report of over 50% of the mining leases. In all, it is probing alleged violations in 126 mining leases.
The report consists of verification of documents of mining leases, whom the leases were allotted to and who was operating them, and whether valid environment clearances were obtained. Based on this report, a final decision pertaining to the investigation will be taken by the SIT.
The SIT had filed 16 first information reports (FIRs) in the illegal mining cases, of which eight have been chargesheeted, three have been closed, and three others transferred to the police stations concerned. Three other cases have been quashed by the court, a senior police officer said.
Incidentally, not much progress has been made in the investigation, despite the SIT having probed the case for over six-and-a-half years now.
On July 26, 2013, the mines department had filed a criminal complaint with the crime branch, seeking that criminal liability be fixed against those involved in the mining scam.