Congress blames Parrikar for Goan casino industry’s prosperity

Panaji, May 7 (IANS) A day after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar remarked that the Congress leadership was washing its hands (of corruption) in the Ganges, the party on Friday attacked him for enabling Goa’s offshore casino industry to prosper.

Manohar-Parrikar

Parrikar, a former Goa chief minister, made the comment in Parliament on Friday.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, Congress secretary Durgadas Kamat alleged Parrikar as chief minister of Goa and the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership may have similarly washed their hands in the waters of the Mandovi river by allowing the offshore casino industry to prosper.

He said it was done despite having promised to drive the casino boats from the river before BJP coming to power in 2012.

“It was BJP and Parrikar himself, who promised the citizens of Goa that the moment BJP comes to power offshore casinos would be removed from the Mandovi river. Instead of doing that, a new casino and a floating hotel run by a casino operator has been given permission,” said Kamat in a statement.

“It is quite visible who has washed their hands in the Mandovi river,” he added.

On Friday, Parrikar, while replying to a debate on the AgustaWestland, said that people in power during the United Progressive Alliance regime, had washed their hands in the flowing waters of the Ganges (behti Ganga) of corruption to favour the VVIP chopper deal, which is now being probed as a multi-million dollar scam.

In the run up to the 2012 state assembly election, Parrikar and the BJP citing moral corruption, had promised to rid the Mandovi, one of the two main rivers in Goa that flows along Panaji, of the offshore casinos which are berthed in it.

Once in power however, the BJP-led governments both initially under the chief ministership of Parrikar and then current Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, were unable to fulfil the promise.

The Congress as well as civil society activists are now accusing the BJP of being close to the casino lobby and have attacked the party for granting permission to a bigger casino vessel in its tenure.

Currently, there are four operational offshore casinos in the Mandovi, apart from a dozen odd casinos operating from the various five start resorts in the state.

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