Grilled over the role of officials from her ministry in the Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam in Goa, an exasperated Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan asked whether she should "shoot" them for the alleged wrong-doings.
"If my officers have done wrong, should I shoot them," said Natarajan when asked about action taken against officials indicted in the Shah Commission report.
Justice Shah in his report indicted the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), the union ministry for environment and forests (MoEF), state directorate of mines, the state forest department and the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) for the illegal mining.
The report holds the state government and central government agencies party to the scam, along with the powerful mining operators here, who, according to Justice Shah, plundered natural resources and facilitated an "unrestricted, unchecked and unregulated export of iron ore to China", which made the exporters of ore "richer and richer".
The report says that forest laws were completely flouted by the mining companies and even mines which were illegally functioning in forest areas were not stopped by government authorities.
"In our country if one does wrong, he is considered innocent until proven guilty," she said, adding that those found guilty would be strictly punished.