2004 scam charges hound Goa chief minister


Panaji : Digambar Kamat, heading a Congress-led coalition government in Goa, finds himself in a piquant situation as the federal investigative agency has questioned a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and his former party colleague over an alleged 2004 scam for which he too faced flak earlier.

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Kamat joined the Congress from the BJP two years ago.

In 2004, he was in the BJP along with former chief minister Manohar Parrikar who was questioned by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) April 15 over an alleged multi-crore rupee scam related to the creation of infrastructure for the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa in 2004.

The two were part of the core committee formed by the BJP government in 2004 for clearance and decision-making related to creation of infrastructure for the IFFI.

Kamat also appears to be facing tough questions over a 2004 report of Congress’ internal enquiry that put him and Parrikar in the dock over alleged corruption while creating infrastructure for the film festival.

IANS has a copy of the internal report compiled by former Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Shantaram Naik in 2004, which levelled charges relating to financial misappropriation against the ruling BJP politicians, who were members of a core committee for the festival.

“I was a member of the core committee and I know the committee took correct decision. There was nothing wrong with the decisions taken,” said Kamat when IANS sought his reaction on the 2004 inquiry report’s findings that have come into public domain now.

Recently, Kamat also gave Parrikar, who now heads the opposition BJP, a clean chit in an alleged multi-crore rupee scam.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Subhash Shirodkar was unavailable for comment.

The report of the Congress inquiry committee headed by Naik, now a member of the Rajya Sabha, said: “Since political considerations and not the state, national or international outlook has been the prime consideration of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, that corruption is involved is apparent on the face of the record, that choosing of the site itself was made in suspicious circumstances.”

It was following a recommendation in Naik’s report that instances of alleged corruption and financial misappropriation be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that a case was registered with the federal investigative agency subsequently.

“In view of the non-transparent and suspicious manner in which the construction activities related to the festival are carried on in open defiance of the law of the land, and also, in open defiance of the authority of the Government of India, namely, Ministry of Environment and Forests, the entire activities be investigated either by the Central Vigilance Commission or the Central Bureau of Investigation,” the report said.

“All tenders of constructions relating to film festival should be issued as per the law and this fraud business of ‘expression of interest’ should be thoroughly investigated,” the report stated.