August 1, 2022 9:40:39 pm
Days after the Chief Town Planner (CTP) of Goa asked the Senior Town Planner of the North Goa district to inspect the site on which Silly Souls Café and Bar in Assagao stands, Goa Town and Country Planning (TCP) Minister Vishwajit Rane said on Monday that the restaurant cannot be called “controversial” just because someone has made some accusations or gone to a court.
Asked to comment on the ongoing political row centered around the upscale restaurant, Rane told reporters on Monday, “Just because somebody says it’s controversial and goes to court, I don’t think it’s controversial. The (TCP) department will do what needs to be done in the right way. The department is pretty competent and professional to deal with such situations. We should not put some accusation on somebody just because you want to do it (sic).” He added, “My only submission is that the department is competent and the person concerned is my leader also. More importantly, a very responsible person.”
The restaurant and bar, that faces a show-cause notice over the renewal of its liquor licence allegedly in the name of a deceased person, has been embroiled in a political row between the Congress party and Union minister Smriti Irani.
While the Congress had claimed that the restaurant was run by the daughter of Irani and accused the minister of “misusing power”, Irani had hit back saying that her daughter was being targeted only because “her mother does press conferences against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi”.
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A show-cause notice was issued to Silly Souls Café and Bar by the Goa Excise Commissioner on July 21 following a complaint filed by lawyer Aires Rodrigues, who alleged that the restaurant’s licence renewed in June was in the name of Anthony D’Gama who passed away in May, 2021. D’Gama’s wife Merlyn and son Dean, who holds the Power of Attorney for the family, however, filed a reply to the show-cause notice that it was “sheer oversight and bona fide omission” that for the last renewal after the death of Anthony D’Gama, “the term ‘late’ remained to be pre-fixed which is a bona fide mistake and is neither deliberate nor wilful.”
Subsequently, Rodrigues also filed complaints with the state Director of Panchayats and the CTP alleging that the structure on the premises of the restaurant was illegal and the land that was tenanted for cultivation was illegally filled.
Asked to comment on the matter since three different departments of the state government were examining the alleged illegalities pointed out by Rodrigues, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on the sidelines of a press conference on Monday, “Today I was here to talk about the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. I will talk about this later”.
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