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Goa trade body builds war chest to take on scam


Panaji : Unhappy with the Goa government’s reluctance to probe the industrial plot scam engineered by Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) officials, an industries trade body is readying a war chest to take the guilty to task.

The Goa Small Industries Association (GSIA) has written to its members to contribute to a fund in order to file a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court to pursue the scam in which a Congress legislator and several officials of the state-run GIDC are allegedly involved.

“We are looking at a corpus of Rs.10 lakh to fight this case by engaging the services of the best of lawyers in Goa.

“We, therefore, appeal to all our members and all the industries in Goa to contribute generously,” said the appeal from GSIA president Shekhar Sardessai to its several hundred members.

A cloud of suspicion rests on top GIDC officials after a state government-appointed task force that included representation from the industry in Goa July 6 alleged a multi-crore scam in the allotment of industrial plots.

The GIDC is a nodal agency to promote industries in the state which functions under the aegis of the industries ministry, headed by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat.

Industrial plots worth crores of rupees were allegedly handed over by its officials to real estate operators as well as politically connected people by ignoring GIDC guidelines on industrial land allotment.

GSIA believes that as the scam has been exposed by the task force, the Goa government should criminally probe it and bring the culprits to book, something which Kamat, as industries minister, has been reluctant to do.

“No matter how much we complain or campaign to set this right, the result will be only for a short term as there is no political will or courage to effect the change,” Sardessai said and justified the legal route.

“The entire GIDC machinery is in shambles and if immediate steps are not taken to clean it up, we will have a GIDC with empty coffers very soon. If this happens, our Industrial Estates… will be left to fend for themselves,” Sardessai told IANS.

He said the GSIA was seeking criminal action against those involved in the scam and recovery of the money to the exchequer and implementations of the new recommendations of the task force as soon as possible.