Nationalist Congress Party’s National General Secretary Jitendra Deshprabhu denied the charges of being involved in illegal mining activity and claimed that the mud accumulated in his property at Korgao was due the work undertaken to dig pits and channels for irrigation facility.
Asserting that he is an agriculturist, he said he was developing the plot to plant mango trees and therefore had dug pits and the excavated soil was kept in a heap.
However, the Department of Mines and Geology officials following an inspection, had reported that 15,000 metric tones of bauxite ore were heaped in the property and fined Deshprabhu to the tune of Rs. 1.7 crore for evading paying royalty on the extracted mine to the government.
While disclosing that he had sought Forest Department’s permission to clear his huge plateau of the bushes, Deshprabhu said he had already planted 800 mango grafts in the property which yielded around 4000 mangoes during the current season.
He argued that since the property is not classified as a private forest, he was free to develop it any way he wanted for the purpose of agriculture or horticulture.
He claimed that the allegations were politically motivated and made only after he declared his intention of contesting the next Assembly elections from Porvorim constituency.