Panaji: The Congress on Monday thanked former Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar for his “boldness” in exposing the BJP and Manohar Parrikar in connection with alleged illegalities in the state’s mining industry.
Addressing the media here, A. Chellakumar, the AICC General Secretary in-charge of Goa, said that an affidavit filed by Parsekar before the Goa Lokayukta, which is probing the Rs 1.44 lakh crore illegal mining scam, also exposed the lies peddled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, when it was in the opposition and had accused Congress leaders of a Rs 35,000 crore mining scam in the coastal state.
“But today the truth has come out. It was brought to the limelight by none other than the BJP’s former Chief Minister himself. Parsekar has very clearly mentioned that it was not him but Parrikar who has looted Rs 1.44 lakh crore of the exchequer of the government. I really appreciate the boldness of Parsekar,” Chellakumar said.
“Parrikar, while in opposition, had gone on a ‘padyatra’ and also carried out many other agitations. He had told so many lies. He went to every extent to brand the Congress as corrupt.”
Parsekar succeeded Parrikar as Goa Chief Minister, after the latter was elevated as Defence Minister in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central cabinet in 2014.
In his affidavit filed before the Goa Lokayukta, Parsekar, who has been made one of the respondents in the scam by NGO Goa Foundation, has claimed that “certain individuals”, who were involved in the process of granting the renewals were “left out” by the complainant.
Parsekar has also said that the process of the controversial second renewal of 88 mining leases was carried out as per a government policy which was adopted when he was not Chief Minister, suggesting that the policy decision was taken by the erstwhile BJP-led coalition government headed by Parrikar.
Parrikar assumed charge as Goa Chief Minister in 2017.
Speaking to IANS, state BJP President Vinay Tendulkar said that he had not seen Parsekar’s affidavit yet.
Mining in Goa was banned for the second time earlier this year by the apex court, faulting the state government for irregularities in granting second renewals of 88 mining leases, while also directing it to allot the mining leases afresh.