16 Jan 2018  |   06:23am IST

SIT files closure report in Dahej Minerals case against Ranes

No evidence cited as reason for closing the case

Team Herald

PANJIM: In major relief to former chief minister Pratapsingh Rane and then Congress minister Vishwajit Rane (currently BJP minister), the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has filed a closure report before the Panjim Special Court on account of lack of evidence in the Dahej Minerals case. 

SP Kartik Kashyap confirmed submitting the closure report in court. 

In June 2014, SIT had launched a suo-motu inquiry after Balchandra Naik, Chairman and Managing Director of Dahej Minerals Ltd, had alleged in a press conference at Congress House that the father-son duo had tried to extort Rs 10 crore from him to clear a mining lease. A case under Sections 384 and 120-B of the IPC and Section 7 read with Section 13 (1) (d) and Section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 was registered. However, investigations in the last three years have not established any evidence leading SIT to file a closure report. 

Herald in November 2017 was the first to report that SIT was contemplating filing a closure report against the politicians for lack of evidence. 

“We have analysed 186-odd bank accounts but there were no transaction or withdrawals to establish the bribery allegations. Several witnesses were also questioned and none have pointed fingers at bribery. Since there is no evidence to corroborate the allegations, the investigating officer of the case might move the court to close it,” an officer had told Herald. 

Naik had alleged that a bribe had been demanded to facilitate an environment clearance from the Centre and start operations of a mine in Poriem constituency. Rane had denied allegations warning to file a defamation suit against Naik for making a ‘frivolous charge’.