Be transparent on casino sealing, poll official tells Goa

April 1st, 2009 - 11:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Panaji, April 1 (IANS) The chief electoral officer in Goa Wednesday asked the state government to behave in a transparent manner over the controversial and much publicised sealing and de-sealing of offshore casino vessels and avoid “undue haste” in its actions.
Goa’s Chief Electoral Officer Ajit Srivastava has directed the environment secretary to personally monitor the offshore casino issue “to ensure that all principles of natural justice are followed in processing all such cases”.

“Any undue haste may not be shown without giving reasonable opportunity to affected parties in taking action, foreclosure or revocation of sealing,” the order issued by Srivastava said.

There was a political furore last month after both the Congress-led coalition government as well as the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed credit for the action taken against the offshore casinos, which have been the major flogging horse in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

Three offshore casinos - Rio, Caravela and Maharaja - were sealed by the North Goa district magistrate following recommendations from the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) for alleged violation of pollution norms March 24.

However, the vessels were de-sealed only a few hours later, with the government claiming there was a “communication gap” between the GSPCB and the district administration.

Srivastava had earlier issued notices to the GSPCB and the North Goa district administration, asking them to justify their action.

In his order Wednesday Srivastava added: “The Pollution Control Board has to ensure that the exercise conducted by them in such cases is carried out in fair and transparent manner.”

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