Goa minister caught with $10 mn could have Dawood links: BJP


Panaji : Goa Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate, who was detained at Mumbai for allegedly carrying $10 million in unaccounted money, could have links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged Sunday. The minister, however, said the money was accounted for and he would submit proof of this.

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Addressing a press conference here, BJP MP from north Goa Shripad Naik said: “It is possible that he (Monserrate) is investing in hotels in Dubai or even has links with Dawood Ibrahim.”

“This money could be indirectly being used to fund terrorists,” said Naik, a former minister of state for civil aviation, after attending a special meeting called by the BJP executive Sunday, to discuss the developments following Monserrate’s detention Saturday.

Monserrate, who already has a string of cases against him, was on his way to Dubai along with his son and his personal accountant, when he was detained Saturday by customs officials while carrying the huge volume of money, reportedly pegged at $10 million. He was released late Saturday after he was grilled for nearly 18 hours by customs officials.

Naik also said that the source of the money in Monserrate’s possession and his intention behind carrying the money to Dubai needed to be probed.

He asserted that he would take up this issue at the national level as part of the BJP’s ongoing campaign against black money and demanded a thorough probe into the issue.

Monserrate meanwhile claimed that he was only carrying Rs 21 lakh in different currency and said that he had documents to prove that the money was accounted for.

“I was having travellers’ cheques worth $25,000 which I had procured last year when I was to go to London for a business trip. These were leftovers from my London trip,” he said.

Monserrate also claimed that he was not aware of the amount of foreign currency one could carry while travelling on a tourist visa.

“I was not informed that one cannot carry such amount of travellers’ cheque when you are on a tourist visa. It is allowed only on business visa,” Monserrate said, adding that he had been asked to present himself before the Mumbai Customs authorities on April 8 to prove that the money seized was accountable.

Taleigao legislator Monseratte, who was formally inducted into the Congress party in June last year, is also being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for leading a mob which attacked a city police station in which several people were injured and several woman police constables complained of being molested.