June 27, 2021 3:59:01 am
The Goa Lokayukta has sent a special report to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, stating that the Pramod Sawant-led government had refused to act on recommendations of the former Lokayukta to file an FIR against BJP MLA and former state Power minister Pandurang Madkaikar in a case of alleged disproportionate assets.
In his report, sent on Wednesday, Lokayukta, Justice Ambadas Joshi, wrote that his predecessor, Justice Prafulla Kumar Misra, had directed Goa government on September 15, 2020 to file an FIR against Madkaikar for allegedly constructing a bungalow estimated to be worth Rs 200 crore in Old Goa that was disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Lawyer Aires Rodrigues had filed a complaint against Madkaikar in 2018, seeking an FIR against the BJP MLA from Camburja constituency in North Goa, and wife Janita Madkaikar, the sarpanch of Old Goa, under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy under the IPC.
In the status of compliance of the report recommending filing of an FIR, the Director of Vigilance had informed the Lokayukta on December 30, 2020: “The Report of the Hon’ble Lokayukta was placed before the Competent Authority, wherein Competent Authority has not accepted the recommendations…”
In his report to the Governor dated June 23, Justice Joshi, a retired judge of Bombay High Court, wrote, “The above Action Taken Report does not disclose or comprise ground of rejection/reasons or justification, by the Competent Authority i.e. the Chief Minister of Goa”.
CM Sawant holds the Vigilance portfolio.
When contacted on Saturday, the Chief Minister’s Office did not comment on the matter.
In his complaint, filed before the Lokayukta on June 7, 2018, Rodrigues accused the state Anti-Corruption Bureau of taking no action on his earlier complaint. Rodrigues had alleged that Nikitasha Realtors Pvt Ltd, purportedly owned by Madkaikar, had built a “palatial bungalow” in Old Goa at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore. He stated that income-tax returns for 2015-16 filed by Madkaikar had shown his total income for the financial year at Rs 1,44,389, and that of his wife as Rs 24,389.
The property, Rodrigues alleged, was disproportionate to their known sources of income.
Justice Joshi was sworn in as Goa Lokayukta on May 7. The office of the anti-corruption authority was vacant for almost eight months after Justice Misra retired.
Justice Misra, who retired in September, 2020 had said at the time of his departure that that the Lokayukta Act in Goa was toothless. “Why should public money be spent for nothing? If the Lokayukta Act is being thrown into the dustbin with such force, then it’s better to abolish the Lokayukta,” he had said.
On January 27, the Assembly passed the Goa Lokayukta Amendment Bill, after which the Opposition accused the BJP government in the state of severely diluting the powers of the anti-corruption authority. The Bill was proposed by CM Sawant.
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