PANJIM: Criticizing the state government's inability to register a police complaint against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) secretary Jitendra Deshprabhu for his involvement in illegal mining, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Rajendra Arlekar on Monday accused the state authorities of being hand-in-gloves with illegal miners.
Arlekar, addressing a press conference in Panjim on Monday, said that the state has even failed to act on the order of a Judicial Magistrate First Class that had ordered that Deshprabhu be booked for illegally extracting nearly 50,000 tonnes of bauxite from a mine, located in his property at Korgao in Pernem.
"The common man has to now approach the court to get a simple FIR registered. But despite the court order, the complaint is yet to be registered. When BJP MLA in Pernem Dayanand Sopte went to the Pernem police station to inquire about the complaint, he was told that the PI is on leave for 22 days and that while one PSI is at the Shirgao zatra, the other is busy making arrangements for the chief minister's son's wedding," Arlekar said.
On Saturday, a local court ordered the police to file an FIR against Deshprabhu, the state mines director and the chairman of the state pollution control board for their inability to curb illegal mining.
Arlekar also said that the BJP wants a probe to determine whether the contractor involved in illegal mining, Ritesh Naik, is home minister Ravi Naik's son or only his namesake. "We will be happy if our home minister's son is not involved, but the possibility should not go uninvestigated. The home minister says there is law and order, but just to determine which authority should register the complaint, SP (ACB), SP North and SP (crime) are set to hold a meeting on Monday. It appears the state is only buying time."
Arlekar said that it should be investigated whether Deshprabhu has actually paid the .` 1.72 crore fine imposed on him by the state mines department for the illegal mining in his property.
"The BJP's demand is that the heap of mined product lying at the site and the machinery be confiscated by the state and the complaint against Deshprabhu be lodged immediately honouring the court's orders."
Arlekar said that after Prafulla Hede, Deshprabhu is the second NCP leader to be probed for illegal mining. "This is a disturbing trend among NCP MLAs. It looks like they have blessings from the higher ups."


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