Scam charge against Parrikar ?

| 17 January 2002 22:35 IST

In an attempt to give a fitting reply in his own style, the opposition Congress has filed a police complaint against Bharatiya Janata Party chief minister Manohar Parrikar, alleging his involvement in a multi-crore power scam.

The police have however refused to file First Information Report based on the complaint, stating that Parrikar was not the chief minister during the period mentioned by the complainant when the alleged scam having taken place.

Parrikar, on the other hand, has threatened to file a defamation case against Congress legislator Jitendra Deshprabhu, the complainant, besides contempt of court and breach of privilege.

The news of a police complaint against Parrikar sent ripples in the political circles here since the series of scams exposed by Parrikar during Congress regime had begun with a similar kind of police complaint filed by the then BJP legislator Parrikar about a power rebate scam. The then power minister Mauvin Godinho was later arrested during the BJP regime.

The 14-page complaint is based on a gazette notification issued on 25 August 2000, waiving demand charges and concessional supply of power to M/s Mormugao Steel Ltd, a mini steel plant, for five years from 1 September 2000, to the tune of Rs 13.5 crore. Deshprabhu alleges that a similar concession of Rs 2.53 crore were also granted to M/s Mandovi Pallets Ltd.

Parrikar points out that he was not even a minister during this period, but the then coalition government, comprising of a group of Congress rebels and the BJP, was headed by Francisco Sardinha, now a Congress legislator.

"It is up to the police to find out who is actually responsible for it", states Luizinho Faleiro, the state opposition leader. Though he was not even a minister, Deshprabhu however alleges that Parrikar himself masterminded the whole thing.

In his complaint, he also alleges that Parrikar obtained funds for his party, in addition to gratification for himself, to the tune of Rs one crore and even purchased a party office. He has also provided a list of six other power guzzling units, who have allegedly paid cheques of Rs 31,000 each to the BJP in September last year.

Expressing ignorance over such donations received from the power guzzlers, Parrikar however finds no problem in receiving such donations by cheque. "It means my party has followed proper norms and not involved in any kind of black money deals", he quips.

While Faleiro as well as Deshprabhu do not state specifically whether they also hold Sardinha responsible for the scandal, Parrikar however alleges that both these Congress leaders are actually trying to settle scores with Sardinha, keeping the gun on his shoulder.

Karnal Singh, the DIG of Police, however refuses to pin down Sardinha – if not Parrikar – based on a complaint. "I have to find out whether it was a collective cabinet decision or Mr Sardinha’s individual action", he states, while refusing to file the FIR.

Deshprabhu has however declared that he will approach the court if the police are pressurised by the ruling party not to register his complaint as the FIR. Parrikar, on the other hand, is planning a legal recourse to prosecute Deshprabhu for defaming him.

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