Goa house adjourned over minister’s detention

April 7th, 2011 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Panaji, April 7 (IANS) The Goa assembly was adjourned for the third day in a row Thursday over the detention of state Education Minister Atanasio alias Babush Monserrate last week by Mumbai airport customs for allegedly carrying foreign exchange worth crores of rupees.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators forced Speaker Pratapsingh Rane to adjourn the proceedings, and added another charge against Monserrate.

They claimed that the minister was intimidating witnesses in a criminal case that involved and was being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“This minister’s behaviour has to be discussed in the house. Both the chief minister and minister himself have not denied that he was carrying foreign exchange. We should be discussing this minister’s conduct. There is no point in allowing the assembly if these serious issues are not discussed,” BJP leader Manohar Parrikar said.

Quoting media reports from Mumbai, Parrikar said that the CBI had filed an application with the Bombay High Court seeking transfer of an arson and assault case against Monserrate, because “witnesses were being threatened”.

“The country’s premier investigative agency has said that witnesses are being intimidated…are there any honourable members in this house anymore, I am beginning to wonder. Smugglers are honourable members?” he said.

The BJP has already dubbed Monserrate a “mini Hasan Ali” — after the Pune-based alleged money launderer who is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate — and alleged that he could be laundering the monies of several ministers and politicians from Goa.

“He could be a conduit for parking money from ministers and politicians abroad. He is a mini Hasan Ali…a Babush Ali,” Parrikar said Tuesday after staging a walkout from the assembly.

Parrikar also said that the Goa government was a government “of smugglers, for smugglers, by smugglers”.

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