Congress leader and former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, named an accused in the multi- crore mining scam, today said allegations against him were false and asserted he will not buckle under them.
He said the priority now should be to get the mining activity in the state restarted.
Kamat was addressing a meeting organised by the “Goa Mining Dependents Front” at Usgao village, 50km from here.
The meeting was held to demand resumption of the mining activity, which came to a standstill in the coastal state after a Supreme Court order in February.
“Many things have been said about me and the mining industry. I will not buckle under fake allegations,” the former Congress Chief Minister maintained.
“I am capable of facing any allegation because I have God with me. I never went against the interest of the common people when I was the Chief Minister or a minister,” said Kamat, who headed the Congress-led government from 2007 to 2012.
Kamat has been named one of the accused by the Goa Crime Branch in the multi-crore mining scam.
As per the report of the Justice (retd) M B Shah Commission, illegal mining to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore had taken place in Goa from 2005 to 2012, when the Supreme Court banned extraction of iron ore in the coastal state.
Kamat had held the charge of the Mines and Geology Ministry from 2000 to 2012. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
Speaking further, Kamat said the current question is how to start the mining industry.
“There are two ways – either go to the Supreme Court and file a review petition or issue an ordinance,” he said.
The former Chief Minister said the closure of iron ore mines has slowed down economic activities in cities.
“Our party will support the cause of mining resumption. We were part of the Goa delegation which went to Delhi in the past demanding resumption of mining activity.”
As per the government estimates, around two lakh people in Goa are dependent on the mining industry, a key source of revenue for the tiny state.