Will Narvekar be debarred from contesting polls ?

| 17 September 2000 22:59 IST

For the first time after its constitution in 1997, the Public Men's Corruption (Investigations and Inquiries) Commission has held a powerful politician, brother of the deputy chief minister, guilty in a corruption case.

While the tourist state is gripped with fever of municipal polls scheduled on 15 October, the commission has even recommended the state government to debar Subhash Narvekar, former president of Mapusa municipality, from contesting elections.

"We have no option but to proceed with the recommendations", states urban development minister Francisco D'Souza, who is also the Mapusa municipal president. The 25-page judgement is presently referred to the law department.

Dayanand Narvekar, the deputy CM, is his colleague in the Goan Peoples' Congress. They had split together along with nine others from the Congress in November to form a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Though the Dy CM is acquitted from the charges of using his position in the government in the corruption case for lack of evidence, his brother Subhash is also told to repay Rs six lakh to the Mapusa municipality.

Narvekar has been held guilty of favouritism, malpractice and flagrant violation of rules and procedures in the matter of construction of 60 stalls in the Mapusa market at the cost of Rs 42 lakh, when its actual cost was only Rs 36 lakh.

During his presidential regime, he allotted the construction work to Chandrakant Shirodkar without floating a tender, preparing plans or estimate or work inspection by municipal engineer, while paying the amount collected from lessees directly to the contractor, without depositing it in municipal accounts.

Though the matter involves small amount of Rs six lakh, it is considered to be a shot in the arm for the commission, a quasi-judicial body of recommendatory nature, since it could hold at least one person guilty after acquitting several politicians in the past for lack of evidence.

One such case against former chief minister Ravi Naik (the opposition leader today) was disposed of way back in 1997 for want of evidence. Similarly, Dayanand Narvekar had urged the high court to refer a case of multi-crore alleged irrigation scam to the commission, obviously because it has no teeth to punish the guilty.

As chief minister Francisco Sardinha is still dilly-dallying over coming out openly in support of the commission's recommendations, even his coalition partner – the BJP – has demanded that action be immediately initiated against Narvekar.

Dr Wilfred de Souza, Narvekar's arch political rival and sole legislator of the Nationalist Congress Party, has also seized the opportunity to corner Sardinha, demanding that special notification be issued to debar him from contesting municipal polls.

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