Even as Indian Coast Guard rescued four sailors from an offshore casino vessel on Sunday, a political storm brewed in Goa after the ship drifted towards Panaji’s Miramar beach due to a choppy sea. The opposition accused the coalition government in the state of trying to use back door means to introduce a sixth offshore casino in the river adjoining the state capital.
The Coast Guard used a rescue helicopter to lift four sailors who were injured and left stranded on ‘MV Lucky Seven’, which drifted towards the beach adjoining the Mandovi river’s mouth.
The Congress demanded a probe on how the vessel was allowed to drift from a nearby Mormugao Port Trust berth during monsoon. “Nature stopped the unholy designs of the Goa government to bring yet another casino to Goa… the BJP played with the lives of the crew onboard the vessel,” All India Congress Committee Secretary Girish Chodankar told reporters.
“After promising to do away with casinos, the government has now introduced yet another casino in the Mandovi,” state Aam Aadmi Party convenor Elvis Gomes told media persons here on Sunday.
The AAP said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government had deliberately presented a weak case in court so as to allow the offshore casino vessel operators to ply their trade.
There are currently five offshore casinos in the Mandovi river, apart from a dozen-odd onshore casinos at the state’s numerous five-star resorts. Tourism Minister Babu Azgaonkar ordered a probe into the incident though Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar avoided comment on the issue.
Azgaonkar said: “I will seek a report as soon as possible and action will be taken on the report.”