Khandeparkar panel to have powers to prosecute guilty

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The high level Justice Khandeparkar Committee, likely to be notified by the state government on Thursday

PANAJI: The high level Justice Khandeparkar Committee, likely to be notified by the state government on Thursday, will not only identify the offences and illegalities committed during illegal mining operations in the state and pinpoint guilty public servants and ‘others’ who aided and abetted in the illegal mining operations, including ore transportation, but also have the power to recommend or itself register offences and prosecute those found guilty.

The brief on illegality is beyond the 42 mines which were allegedly illegally revived by doling out favours. Condonation of the delay was from 1995 onwards.

The committee, that includes an environmental expert, Mr K P Nayati, former director, NEERI, Mr Tapan Chakraborti, M tech (Chem. Engg), IIT Mumbai, Dr Pramod Pathak, Senior Chartered Accountant, Mr V B Prabhu Verlekar, and the Principal Secretary (Mines) as the Member Secretary, would give suggestions for regulated mining in the state under an independent authority and suggest measures for co-ordination between various government authorities. The Anti-corruption Bureau, with a Superintendent of Police-level officer would be made available to assist the committee.

The cabinet had recently resolved to approve the appointment of an independent high level investigation committee, headed by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court or High Court, and having powers to independently investigate, inquire and submit a report to the state government on issues raised by the Justice M B Shah Commission while focusing on effective control, supervision and regulation of mining operations in the state, finding out the loss, pilferage to the exchequer on matters of royalty, land cess, forest wealth, mineral resources, encroachments on government land and identifying the guilty.

An earlier cabinet note had prepared the agenda for the cabinet meeting that had stated that mining operations will not resume till the findings of the Shah Commission and the Public Accounts Committee are looked into and "adequately remedied."