PANAJI: IAS officer Rajiv Yaduvanshi, who had earlier served as the Principal Secretary of the Mines Department in Goa, was today questioned here by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of crime branch in connection with the illegal mining case in the coastal state.
Yaduvanshi, who is currently posted as Delhi Health Secretary, was the Principal Secretary of the state Mines and Geology Department in Goa between 2006-2011 when the alleged illegal mining took place.
"Yaduvanshi was questioned here in connection with the illegal mining case. The questioning will continue even tomorrow," Karthik Kashyap, Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch), said.
Kashyap was speaking to reporters after coming out of the crime branch office, where Yaduvanshi was questioned for over two hours this afternoon.
When asked about the possibility of placing Yaduvanshi under arrest, Kashyap said, "Nothing can be said at this moment".
The SIT is investigating a complaint filed by the Mines and Geology department in July 2013 seeking to fix criminal liability on those involved in the illegal mining as pointed out by various committees, including the Centre-appointed Justice M B Shah Commission.
The crime branch had registered an FIR in August 2013 against those named in various reports (Shah Commission and other committees), including former chief minister Digambar Kamat, former Mines and Geology department director Arvind Lolienkar and some other officials of the department, mining firm .
The FIR was registered under various IPC sections, including 120 (b) (conspiracy), 166 (public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person), relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act, Mines and Minerals Development Act, Mineral Conservation and Development Rules and Goa Prevention of Illegal Mining Transportation, Storage of Minerals Rules 2004.
Based on the findings of the Justice M B Shah Commission report, which estimated a Rs 35,000 crore loss to the exchequer due to alleged illegal mining over 12 years, the Supreme Court had banned mining in all 90 mines in Goa from October 2012. The apex court had lifted the ban in April 2014, but put an annual cap of 20 million tonnes on excavation.