Police to dig into Zuwarkar's wealth

| 11 May 2001 22:52 IST

After raiding the bank premises as well as his residence for the alleged fraudulent deals committed in the apex state co-operative bank, the police are now also investigating into the disproportionate assets former minister Somnath Zuwarkar has made till date.

Meanwhile, the board of directors of the Goa State Co-operative Bank decided to stand unitedly behind chairman Zuwarkar, stating that they are prepared to face any action, at the pre-planned board meeting held today.

While the police are presently scrutinising 25 files they seized from the bank after raiding several branches yesterday, SP (CID) Apa Teli said they would also dig into the wealth Zuwarkar has amassed since he entered into public life.

After serving as a clerk in the judicial commissioner's court, Zuwarkar entered active politics in 1979 as the sarpanch of Taleigao village, which is a part of Panaji municipality today. He was then elected as the Congress MLA in 1990, joining Goa's infamous defection game which began within 75 days.

While getting actively involved either in defections or in engineering defections throughout his three terms, he was the minister for the third time in the Congress government which was toppled in 1999 by his own colleagues, to join hands with the BJP in a coalition government.

Meanwhile, he was also elected the chairman of the premier co-operative bank in 1998. Zuwarkar now claims that he is being harassed as the BJP government failed in replacing his bank with another apex bank, at the initiative of co-operation minister Prakash Velip and another minister Pandurang Raut.

According to SP Teli, as he is facing charges against Public Men's Corruption Act, the police will have to track down his record since the time he was a government servant, till date, assessing the enormous wealth he has amassed.

While Zuwarkar becomes the first Goan politician whose property history is being probed into, the real estate agent-turned politician says his life is an open book and he has no skeletons to hide behind the cupboard.

"I have been into politics when chief minister Manohar Parrikar was a baccha. He cannot finish me politically", claims Zuwarkar. The Congress party has also reacted sharply to the police action, terming it as political harassment.

After holding the board meeting, Zuwarkar today claimed that none of the five cases in which three of his director colleagues have alleged misappropriation were cleared without approval of the board of directors.

The cases relate to releasing loan to the defaulter, one-time settlement and rescheduling of loans, mostly to the builders, real estate agents or hoteliers in the tourist state.

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