The Goa Crime Branch has launched an extensive investigation against senior government officials into the alleged illegal mining case involving NCP general secretary Jitendra Deshprabhu.
The investigation covers the Mines and Geology Director, Forest Conservator, Goa State Pollution Control Board Chairman, State Transport Director, among others, who have been accused of shielding illegal mining in Goa, police said.
“We will be quizzing almost everyone associated with this case,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Chandrakant Salgaoncar said, adding an FIR has been registered against Mr. Deshprabhu, besides other government officials on May 11.
Mr. Deshprabhu, whose family owns huge tracts of land in North Goa’s Pernem taluka, has been accused of indulging in illegal mining to the tune of Rs 50 crore.
The crime branch had yesterday interrogated the Director of Mines and Geology Department, Arvind Lolienkar, who is also responsible for giving a mining licence in connection with the case.
The interrogation went on for almost seven hours at the office of the Crime branch at Dona Paula.
Mr. Deshprabhu’s alleged illegal mine was discovered in 2007 and subsequently the issue was raised in the Goa Legislative Assembly by opposition benches, led by the BJP.
The mines department had also initiated inquiry into the mine, which according to them, had already exported several thousand tones of ore, without proper licence.
The department had found 15,000 metric tones of ore stacked at a site reportedly owned by Mr. Deshprabhu’s family.
Mr. Salgaoncar said that Mr. Deshprabhu had been issued summons to remain present before the investigating authority yesterday, which he ignored.
The crime branch has now decided to issue summons to Mr. Deshprabhu only after questioning the State government authorities responsible for regulation of mining in the State, he said.