Bribe cloud over Goa minister set to fight pollFebruary 4th, 2012 - 6:11 pm ICT by IANS
Panaji, Feb 4 (IANS) Goa Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate, who was allegedly named in an Income Tax department report for receiving kickbacks to the tune of Rs.26.5 crore from real estate developers, has been given a Congress party ticket for the March 3 assembly poll.
State Congress president Subhash Shirodkar Saturday said the list of 22 party candidates, which contains Monserrate’s name as a nominee from St. Cruz constituency, has been endorsed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The party chief had drawn up the list using her “own wisdom”, he said.
“The case has only been reported in the media. We will wait for the investigation to finish. Only then we will be able to take a decision on it,” Shirodkar said about the allegations against Monserrate.
According to media reports, Monseratte has been named in an income tax assessment report which claimed that as town and country planning minister in the last Congress-led coalition government he received Rs.26.5 crore from real estate companies.
The kickbacks were paid in order to convert prime agricultural land into real estate- friendly zones, in a land use document called the regional plan 2011, media reports said earlier this week.
The Income Tax assessment report also named Monserrate’s son Rohit, who is a partner in real estate development companies, the media reports said.
Monserrate has said that his record books were clean and, if asked, he would give an explanation on the issue to the party.
Shirodkar said the party had not yet sought an explanation from Monserrate adding: “We will do so when the time is right.”
Civil society groups and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have demanded action against the minister.
“Of course, we are going to use it (Income Tax report) to the fullest. It is a weapon in our hands. It is a central government agency report and the Congress is ruling at the centre now. It is their own document, which indicts their own minister,” said BJP spokesperson Vishnu Wagh.
NGO Goa Bachao Abhiyan, which has been advocating judicious land use, said it had launched an agitation in 2006 to save Goa from illegal conversion of land.
The Income Tax report had now “confirmed our allegations of illegal money being generated in the name of land conversion”, the NGO said.
- Minister in trouble again, could alter poll pitch (Goa newsletter) - Feb 03, 2012
- Two new faces, 2 defectors in Congress list for Goa - Feb 04, 2012
- Denied ticket, Goa Congress legislator slams Sonia - Feb 11, 2012
- Goa minister caught with $10 mn could have Dawood links: BJP - Apr 03, 2011
- Goa minister detained with $10 mn should quit: BJP - Apr 02, 2011
- Customs playing double standards in Monserrate case: BJP - Apr 09, 2011
- Scam-tainted Congress looks to repeat win in Goa - Dec 25, 2011
- Goa mulls tax on unoccupied second flats, homes - Nov 10, 2011
- Non-Goans cannot buy farm land, says Congress draft manifesto - Jan 23, 2012
- 'Congress ministers, legislators involved in legal mining' - Sep 23, 2011
- Tainted Goa legislator joins Congress (Lead) - Jun 21, 2010
- Is Parrikar going soft on ruling Goa Congress? (News Analysis) - Feb 24, 2011
- Congress tries to make Goa polls a family matter (Goa Newsletter) - Jan 22, 2012
- Congress probes audio glitch in PM's rally - Mar 01, 2012
- Sonia to nominate Goa state chief - Sep 13, 2010
Tags: assembly poll, assessment report, central government agency, civil society groups, coalition government, congress party, congress president sonia gandhi, crore, education minister, income tax assessment, monseratte, monserrate, party candidates, party chief, party ticket, prime agricultural land, real estate developers, regional plan, shirodkar, state congress