One of the biggest ever scam that Goa had witnessed in the year 2012 was Rs. 34,935 crore mining scam, which was unearthed by the Justice Shah Commission and the FIR in this regards was filed almost one year later in 2013. The mining scam had an involvement of all the major mine owners from Goa. Initially, it remained in the media, but slowly, the matter cooled down. But now with the news of an anticipatory bail application filed by one of the prominent businessmen from the city, has brought the news back into the limelight.
According to the sources, the owner of H L Nathurmal Company, Mr. Haresh Melwani, had filed an anticipatory bail in the North Goa district court fearing his arrest in the mining scam. According to his bail application, he pleaded innocent and stated that he has no involvement in the scam in whatsoever manner, said the sources.
The sources have also revealed that after receiving the notice from the court in the 35,000 crore mining scam Mr. Melwani developed the fear of getting arrested by the police and immediately moved into the North Goa District Sessions Court seeking an anticipatory bail.
The sources have stated that the sessions court has issued a notice to the special investigation team (SIT) and the hearing of the same is scheduled on June 12. “Mr. Melwani was supposed to appear before the SIT, probing illegal mining cases, on Friday,” said the sources.
The most surprising thing here is that Mr. Melwani is not alone who received the notice from the SIT but he was the first to approach the sessions court seeking the anticipatory bail. The others who have received the notice from SIT are, the directors of Talaulikar and Sons Private Limited, Chowgule and Company Private Limited, Bandekar Brothers Private Limited (RNSB Group), Damodar Mangalji and Company Private Limited, Sociedade de Fomento Industries Private Limited, Timble Private Limited and G N Agarwal Mining Private Limited.
According to Melwani, he is the only person at the moment who file an anticipatory bail application in the sessions court. He told the media that in his application, he has mentioned that, he is innocent, and not involved in any criminal activities. “I do not have any criminal background,” said Melwani adding that he is a known face in Goa’s business community and if he gets arrested, it would only tarnish his image and will cast a stigma on his career.
It may be recalled that in the year 2012 the Justice MB Shah Commission exposed Goa’s iron ore mining scam worth nearly Rs. 35,000 crore. The voluminous report held the state government and central government agencies as parties to the scam, along with the powerful mining operators in the state, who according to Justice Shah, plundered natural resource and facilitated an “unrestricted, unchecked and unregulated export of iron ore to China”, which made the exporters of ore “richer and richer”.
Incidentally, Shah Commission’s report came in, when the BJP government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar, took over the state’s administration and the former CM of Goa Digambar Kamat who was also holding the ministry of mines for over a decade (2000 – 2012) was accused of being hand in gloves with the mine owners of Goa. “By taking the average export cost at $60 per metric tonne of iron ore from 2006 to 2011 with a conversion rate of Rs 47 per US dollar, the total loss to the state comes out as (127257400.00 x 60 x 47) Rs 34935,928800000,” Shah has said, pinning down the majority of the scam in the five years, when an energy-hungry China aggressively imported ore from Goa.
The FIR was filed in the mining scam with the Goa Police in the year 2013 and almost after four years, the court has decided to issue summons to the parties involved in the scam? How fast our justice system works? when the actual players, who were involved in this scam, will get punished? At the moment only one of the accused had filed for an anticipatory bail and dozens of them are still waiting to follow the suit? What is your opinion on this? Please do share your valuable comments and suggestions on this serious issue.
IMAGE SOURCE: GOENCHI MATI