Did officials accept gifts from mining companies?

Panaji, July 1 (IANS) Anti-mining activists have complained that senior government officials took expensive gifts from a mining company in Goa but the firm said no gifts were given to the officials.

A five-member team of the environment and forests ministry was in Goa to conduct a public hearing last month on re-starting suspended operations of a privately operated iron ore mine at Pirna-Nadora, 30 km from here.

Complaints by the Pirna-Nadora Nagrik Kruti Samiti (PNNKS) to the ministry had resulted in the suspension of work in the mine.

The NGO accused the officers of taking bribes from the company, and circulated purported photographs of the gifts.

‘Why should they accept gifts from the general manager of a mining company in question?’ Yoganand Gawas of PNNKS told IANS.

A ministry official refused to respond to queries on the issue.

Om Prakash, a deputy director at the ministry, who headed the five-member team, said: ‘Why are you asking me this question? Whatever I have to say I will tell the court or the ministry. Who are you to ask me?’

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