Kamat facilitated illegal mining: SIT to court

Kamat facilitated illegal mining: SIT to court

Panaji: The special investigation team (SIT) probing the Goa mining scam on Tuesday said that former chief minister Digambar Kamat misused his power to enrich himself by allowing theft of the state’s natural resources. It made this statement before the sessions judge, Panaji, on Tuesday.

The case pertains to Kamat’s anticipatory bail application. The SIT said that the Margao MLA, who had obtained interim bail in the matter, was involved in illegal mining and the export of iron ore from Goa.

In its rejoinder, Police Inspector Dattaguru Sawant of the SIT said that the team’s investigations revealed theft of iron ore by different individuals in connivance with Kamat, then also mines minister, and officials of the directorate of mines and geology, Indian Bureau of Mines, and forest department.

The SIT also stated that it received information that an arrested trader, Imran Khan, was among Kamat’s proxies from 2007 to 2012. The theft in question pertained to the illegal extraction of ore at a Curpem site that belonged to Amalia Figueiredo.

A witness in the case, the SIT said, stated that he was threatened by Kamat to give up a piece of his land for the construction of an approach road to a jetty used to export iron ore. Since the witness didn’t succumb, the SIT alleged that Kamat then initiated land acquisition proceedings for that piece of land.

The jetty, the SIT told the court, was used for exporting illegal iron ore by various fly-by-night operators who had Kamat’s blessings.

Seeking custodial interrogation of Kamat, the SIT said that it would encourage other witnesses to reveal the ‘criminal conspiracy’. It told the court that there is every likelihood that Kamat would threaten witnesses, particularly because the offence comprises theft of iron ore worth crores of rupees. The SIT also stated that it wanted to investigate each associate of the accused, and further alleged that Kamat isn’t cooperating with the probe.

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