December 29, 2016 8:36:14 pm
The Congress on Thursday said its leader Nilkant Halarnkar had refrained from appearing before the Anti-Corruption Bureau in connection with an inquiry into an alleged land conversion “scam” as he feared arrest. “Halarnkar was summoned in the evening on December 26 while AAP’s CM candidate in Goa Elvis Gomes was called for questioning in the morning. This itself indicates that Halarnkar was supposed to be arrested on that day,” Goa Congress spokesman Trajano D’Mello told reporters on Thursday.
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He said Gomes had earlier moved the High Court on this matter and secured an order that no cohesive action would be taken against him, till the matter is decided by it (HC). D’Mello said Gomes was armed with a court order while Halarnkar was without any protection from arrest, due to which he preferred not to be present and moved for anticipatory bail in a local court.
“The summons issued to Halarnkkar shows how (the ruling) BJP is hell bent on maligning its opponents, specially Congress leaders,” he alleged. Both the leaders were booked by the ACB in June this year for their alleged role in the scam.
Gomes, who was then managing director of Goa Housing Board, and Nilkant Halarnkar, its chairman at the time, allegedly acquired about 30,000 sq m of land near Margao town, changed its zoning (reservation) to residential, which would have increased its market value, and later gave it back to the owner in 2011, as per the ACB FIR.
The board had acquired the land for building residential units and allegedly got its zoning changed from orchard to settlement.
The BJP had refuted the Congress and AAP allegation that the matter was being used by it to malign political rivals.
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