PANJIM: Following directions from the Supreme Court, the government has initiated the process to expedite the recovery of loss to the State exchequer from mining lease holders. As a first step, Directorate of Mines and Geology will evaluate replies filed by lessees of 115 mines to the audit report submitted by a team of chartered accountants (CAs) ascertaining the loss from illegal mining activities.
DMG, along with the Special Investigating Team (SIT), 15-member chartered accountants panel and legal experts, is working towards a roadmap for the recovery process. The first meeting in this regard was held recently.
While the DMG Director Prasanna Acharya remained unavailable for the comments, sources as the Secretariat confirmed that directions have been issued to the department to start the recovery proceedings. “DMG has been asked to take assistance from the SIT and the chartered accountants panel, which was constituted in 2015 to decide on how to proceed with recovery process,” sources said.
“The exact loss involving the lease holders, the mining traders, has to be identified and further steps have to be taken. The chartered accountants panel had conducted audit of 110-115 lease holders but not of the traders as majority were bogus,” sources said.
Sources said that the department and SIT will evaluate the replies submitted by the leaseholders to the show cause notices issued based on the audit report of CAs.
The Apex Court in its February 7 judgment had directed the State to take steps to expedite recovery of amounts said to be due from mining lease holders pursuant to the show cause notices issued to them and pursuant to other reports available with the State, including the SIT report and that of the CAs.
The Justice M B Shah Commission in its inquiry report had pegged the loss to be Rs 35,000 crore due to illegal mining between 2007-2011.
Goa Foundation, the petitioner in Supreme Court in the illegal mining case, had even served notice to the Chief Secretary and Mines Secretary demanding that a process be initiated to recover losses from the miners, failing which it had warned to approach Court.
Following the 2014 Supreme Court judgment that had termed iron ore mining post 2007 as illegal, the government had appointed 15 CAs to undertake a comprehensive audit of lease holders and traders during the inquiry period and to examine the quantity of ore extracted, exported, amount of royalty paid, export duty, ore (if any) sourced from other state, etc.