Panaji, Oct 3 : A committee headed by a retired high court judge will probe within 60 days all instances of illegal mining cited in the Justice M.B. Shah Commission report, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji, Parrikar said the probe would be headed by Justice (Retd) R.M.S. Khandeparkar, who hails from Goa.

"In order to help him probe criminal aspects, the Crime Branch will also report to him," Parrikar said.

The Justice Shah Commission report, tabled in Parliament a few weeks ago, has indicted all mining companies operating in Goa of extracting ore illegally.

The report also indicted former Goa chief minister and Congress leader Digamabar Kamat and several bureaucrats, and suggested that a criminal nexus involving politicians, bureaucrats and mining companies had been responsible for the illegal mining scam in the state, which the Shah Commission had estimated as causing a loss of Rs.35,000 crore to the state exchequer.

Parrikar's appointment of a retired high court judge to probe mining-related illegalities came in the backdrop of accusations that he and the Bharatiya Janata Party were "protecting" the interests of the mining lobby. The accusations were levelled by the Congress party and some civil society activists.

"The committee has been asked to complete the probe in 60 days, after which action would be taken," Parrikar said.


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