Iron ore trader arrested in Goa mining scam

Panaji: A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Goa Crime Branch today arrested iron ore trader Kancha Gaunder in connection with a multi-crore mining scam.

“Gaunder was placed under arrest this evening as he was not cooperating with the investigating officer,” a senior official attached to the SIT told reporters here.

The accused, a registered trader with the State Mines and Geology Department, was being investigated in connection with the illegal mining case, he said.

Besides traders, government and mining firm officials, former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat of the Congress is among those being investigated by the SIT.

“Gaunder did not cooperate during questioning. His bank accounts show transaction of crores of rupees but he was not able to give satisfactory reply about them,” the official said.

He allegedly paid in crores to mining lease holders as well as illegal suppliers of ore for purchase of iron ore and sold it to exporters thereafter, the SIT official said.

“During the investigation, we also found he had not filed returns for iron ore trading which caused loss to the state exchequer,” he said.

As per the report of the Justice M B Shah Commission, illegal mining to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore had taken place in Goa from 2005 to 2012.

A complaint in this regard was filed by the Mines and Geology Department in July 2013.

Subsequently, a special team of Goa Crime Branch was formed in 2014 to probe the scam.