GoaChronicle.com spoke to Congress spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu – the politician currently being considered for GPCC president post and who also currently embroiled in an alleged illegal mining case. He opines that he had and is being made a political victim…
GC: Have you committed an act of illegal mining as alleged by an RTI activist and now the BJP-government?
JD: No, I have committed no such offense. I am an agriculturist not a miner. During the setting up of a irrigation model, on excavation of land to create water-storage facility, we found deposits of minerals. We then applied to the Directorare of Mines and Geology (DMG) for a prospecting license and also formulated a mining plan; which because of the proposed mining policy of the Kamat-government was kept on hold. So the excavated rubble and minerals continue to remain where it was excavated. I have not sold mineral to anyone either directly or through any associate.
GC: Then why would the RTI activist or now government file the complaint against you. There can be no smoke without fire?
JD: I would not like to comment on the reason behind the RTI activist’s case, since the matter is in court. But it is suffice to say that the particular RTI activist who is a government employee has found himself in a sticky soup, even with the Supreme Court. As far as the government is concerned, I have been raising crucial issues on the mal-practices of the new government, especially on mining. Therefore, I am not in the least surprised or worried about their attempt to penalise me for standing up to this corrupt and communal government and in particular Chief Minister. Look at the case filed by the government, which is based on a missing file related to my case. But GoaChronicle.com exposed the bid that the file was not missing but with an LDC. And now the file has been presented to the police department for investigations. More importantly I am told that the DMG officials, who are been dictated too by the CM are at a wits end trying to apply Section 379 of the IPC on my case, since it is my land.
GC: But it was during the Congress regime that you were to be arrested for the same charges of illegal mining?
JD: You see when the word got out that there existed large mineral deposits on our land. We started getting offers from mining companies to buy our land. But more importantly besides the mining companies, we were approached by a senior minister of the Congress government to sell the land, which we of coursed refused. Therefore, it was decided to target me with charges of illegal mining, in order to get me to sell my land.
GC: So the Parrikar-government is targeting you for exposing their lack of good governance and the Kamat-government targeted you for your land?
JD: Kamat and Parrikar are two sides of the same coin. And their reasons for targeting me are one and same. And to the best of my assessment it has got to do with my land, because the mining company their both closely associated has been behind the demand for my land. Of course with the current government it has also got to do with me exposing their double-standards.
GC: If you were such a vocal voice exposing the double-standards, why has the GPCC President Subash Shirodkar curtailed your responsibility as a spokesperson?
JD: On the instructions of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president issued me a letter appointing me as GPCC spokesperson. It is when I started attacking the Parrikar government on illegal mining and emphasizing on the 10kms buffer zone to be maintained around the wildlife sanctuaries, that Shirodkar got nervous. He personally called me and told me that he is under pressure from the mining companies to stop me from speaking on the mining issue or attacking the current government on the mining. So when I wanted to utilise the Congress House to conduct press-conferences, I was denied the permission to do so.
GC: Are you stating that GPCC President said that he was pressurized by the mining companies to get you stop raising issues on mining against this government?
JD: Yes, I am saying just that. And you can call and confirm it with Shirodkar. Please understand that Shirodkar is under the leash of the likes of Kamat and Parrikar who are well entrenched in the mining lobby, even the Shah Commission report indicts both of them. Besides, Shirodkar himself is afraid that the Parrikar-government will go after him for his involvement in illegal mining and transportation.
GC: Some GPCC members feel that you are not a Congress loyalist since you went to the NCP and should not be a contender for the GPCC president post?
JD: I never went to the NCP out of my own will. I was loaned to the NCP by direct acknowledgment and acceptance of the Congress President Sonia Gandhi for the last general elections. And now that I am back in the Congress, it is also according to acceptance of the Congress President. So where is the question of loyalty arising. If some GPCC members do not have the entire facts, I cannot blame them for their misconceptions.
On the issue of contending for the GPCC president post; let me state very clearly that I am not contending for the president post. It is upto the Congress High Command to decide on it. My only submission to the Congress President, when I asked, was that, let the person who is appointed have a proven loyalty to the party and is a Congressman at heart; not individuals who have over the last few years by virtue of opportunities moved to the Congress. That person must also be fiercely secular and committed to taking on the present communal government and its maniacal Chief Minister without fear. I will support whomsoever the party high command decides.
GC: You have been extremely vocal on your negative against the Chief Minister and his government. Even to the extent of terming Parrikar as a man with a criminal mind and intent?
JD: BJP is a party and government of criminals. Some people like to create a camouflage about their illustrious education background, but a little look into their past will reveal incidents of selling tickets in black at the Alankar Cinema at Mapusa and a case filed by the Bank of India for cheating and fraud. Even some are drug lords in their territory like Siolim and Mandrem. Some abet with real estate developers in areas of Mandrem and Canacona to acquire large tracts of land, under guise of tourism infrastructure. But most of all they are a communal party and their agenda is communal in nature, which is not good for a secular state like Goa. Investigate into the various job postings, you will see that most will be given to BJP sympathizers.
GC: So who are the criminals in the BJP party? Can you name them?
JD: I don’t need to name them. My above insinuation will give you an indication about who they are and if you investigate into the past and even present you will see that my allegations are actually facts.
GC: You also had told the media that you would be filing an FIR against the Chief Minister alleging that he is the main perpetrator of the illegal mining, but its been two months so far?
JD: I will be filing the FIR shortly. And I would most certainly inform you about the same. I don’t just talk but I walk the talk.