Former Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar, who is facing an investigation in connection with the second renewal of 88 mining leases in the state, today claimed that the policy for it was formulated during Manohar Parrikar's previous tenure as chief minister.
The Goa Lokayukta had yesterday issued notices to Mr Parsekar and two senior government officers in connection with the second renewal of 88 mining leases in 2014-15, which was quashed by the Supreme Court in February this year.
The 61-year-old BJP leader has now demanded that the Lokayukta should fast track the case against him, so that the truth comes out quickly.
Goa Foundation, an NGO, that approached the Supreme Court against the renewal of 88 mining leases, had filed a petition before the state Lokayukta accusing Mr Parsekar and government officers - former mines secretary Pawan Kumar Sain and current mines and geology department director Prasanna Acharya - of being involved in the illegal renewals.
"How am I responsible for the renewal of the mining leases when they were done as per the state government's policy, which was given an approval by the Bombay High Court at Goa?" Mr Parsekar asked.
He claimed that the mining policy was formulated during the previous tenure of Manohar Parrikar as chief minister, based on the instructions of the high court.
"(Manohar) Parrikar had begun renewing the leases and during his tenure, eight or nine of them (leases) were already renewed," he claimed.
"When I took over, I followed (Manohar) Parrikar's track," said Mr Parsekar, who was the chief minister of Goa from November 2014 till March last year.
The former chief minister demanded that the Lokayukta fast track the case filed against him and not keep it pending for years. "I want the truth to come out. The accusation against me is of being involved in corruption worth Rs 1,44,000 crore. It is not a small amount," he said.
The Supreme Court had in February this year quashed all 88 mining leases which were renewed from November 5, 2014 to January 12, 2015.
In view of the Supreme Court order, the extraction of iron ore was stopped in Goa from March 16.
Mr Parrikar was chief minister Goa from March 9, 2012 to November 8, 2014, after which he resigned to join the Union cabinet as the defence minister.
Mr Parsekar then headed the state government till March 14, 2017, when Manohar Parrikar again assumed the office, after the BJP-led coalition government came to power following the Assembly elections.
Mr Parsekar had lost from the Mandrem seat in North Goa district during the state polls last year.