PANAJI: Former Supreme Court judge and ex-KarnatakaLokayukta Justice N SantoshHegdesaid the Goa government’s decision to appoint a special committee to probe the alleged mistakes in the Justice M B Shah commission report on illegal mining is nothing but an exercise to avert action.

Hegde, on Sunday, said the general idea of appointing such a committee is to defer taking action. Hegde said the Shah commission report has enough ground for the government to proceed against persons who indulged in illegal mining.

“The option of going to court was open before the mining companies,” Hedge said, ruling out the possibility that the Shah commission report did not provide sufficient justification or prima facie evidence for the government to initiate action against erring mining companies.

The government’s decision of allowing subsistence allowance to the people affected by closure of mining was also criticized by Hegde. “It was justifiable to support people only if legal activities had been closed down,” he said.

When it was pointed out that the government argues that there were legal mines too, Hegde said that allowing subsistence allowance without any classification of legal and illegal mines, is like “perpetuating the illegalities”. From P 1

“Can we say that people will be left without jobs or rendered unemployed if tomorrow Dawood Ibrahim is arrested?” he asked, pointing out that he has been asked this question several times.

Following the release of the Shah commission report, chief minister Manohar Parrikarappointed a six-member high-level investigation committee, headed by retired Bombay high court judge, Justice RMS Khandeparkar, to probe illegalities in the mining sector as well as allegations of mistakes in the Shah commission report.

The chief minister has also refused to accept the Rs 35,000 crore figure, claimed by the Shah commission as the quantum of loss to the exchequer. Parrikar claimed that the loss due to illegal mining would be between Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 crore.