Was crop damage compensation to Caurem shown as extortion by Fomento?

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 13 April 2016 19:28 IST

Did tribal leader Ravindra Velip extort Rs 23 lakh from Fomento? And did Fomento fall prey to the blackmail of the tribal youth of Caurem and paid them such a huge amount as a bribe?

The allegation of extortion was made by Fomento CEO Joe Luis yesterday in the presence of Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, showing records of three cheques paid to Ravindra.

However, Ravindra today marched to Panaji along with over 50 tribal villagers, largely women, claiming that this money was paid towards compensation by Fomento, for damaging their crops, in 2012.

IT WAS EXTORTION: FOMENTO

Luis yesterday told the meeting called to resolve the Caurem issue that Ravindra was paid Rs 23,31,880 in three instalments to ‘promote mining business’, in 2012, before mining activity was banned in Goa.

He reportedly also told the meeting convened by the CM that Ravindra and his group is actually involved in extortion from mining companies.

The first instalment of Rs 10,62,064 was paid on 10th May 2012 while the second  instalment of Rs 10,62,532 was paid on 14th June 2012.

The third instalment of Rs 2,07,284 was paid on 18th October 2012.

The news, carried prominently by ‘Prudent TV’ yesterday and ‘The Goan’ and ‘Goan Varta’ today, all owned by Fomento, came as a shock to everybody.

COMPENSATION FOR DAMAGED CROPS: RAVINDRA

Ravindra rushed to Panaji along with the villagers to hold a press conference at Azad Maidan while media men also grilled him thoroughly.

He claimed that the money was paid by Fomento towards compensation for the damage caused to their crops, as per the decision arrived at the official meeting convened by then South Goa Additional Collector Prasanna Acharya, who is now the mines director.

Ravindra produced records of his current account, opened on 8th May 2012 at Quepem branch of Bank of India, which clearly showed all the three entries.

The bank records also showed that all amount was then transferred through different entries.

Ravindra Velip's Bank A/c details

 

Ravindra said the amount was transferred to the villagers, who had opened accounts in the same bank, at the rate of Rs 5000 each, on two occasions.

The villagers gathered at Azad Maidan also told the media that they had received the amount through the bank, towards the compensation.

Later, Ravindra sent a list of 167 beneficiaries along with their account numbers while he claims that there are more beneficiaries whose records were not available with him.

(List of beneficiaries attached at the end of the news)

He said the Bank of India has assured him to provide official bank records of these transfers as it would take little time to find out the four-year old records.

COMPESNATION ASSURED AT OFFICIAL MEET

According to Ravindra, the compensation was assured at a meeting held at Margao Collectorate in 2012 when they had stopped the truck transport, alleging that illegal mining had destroyed the full village as well as their crops.

(Click here and watch a video with a caption “Caurem villagers want compensation before the resumption of ore transport”)

When media persons asked Acharya today about this meeting, he initially could not recall but later on confirmed the news item carried out by Goa 365 TV channel and the meeting held in this regard.

Pay compensation and then resume the mining transport was the demand made by Caurem villagers in 2012, after Manohar Parrikar’s BJP government had come to power.

The meeting was attended by mining company officials, villagers, Caurem Sarpanch as well as Quepem DySP.

    

RAVINDRA MADE FOMENTO CONTRACTOR

Besides transfer of amount supposedly to the villagers, Ravindra’s bank account also shows an entry of Rs 2.59 lakh on 23rd October  2012, paid as service tax.

When asked in this regard, Ravindra said Fomento helped him open the account in Bank of India as a contractor for cargo monitoring, for which the company also paid the service tax while depositing the amount of compensation in this account.

Replying to a relevant question, Ravindra said no other transaction had taken place between him and Fomento except this, which was actually the compensation for crop damage.

According to him, this is an attempt of character assassination by Fomento after the attempt to kill him in the jail was not successful.

“No mining company or even the ruling politicians want to operate mining-related activities through our co-operative society. They want to run the whole operation through outsiders because they are involved in illegalities”, he alleges.

LIst of Cuarem beneficiaries

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