Crime Branch quizzed me about my RTIs on Goa CM’s health, says accused

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Panaji, April 26 (IANS) Kenneth Silveira, who was arrested and released last week for uploading a false Facebook post declaring Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar dead, said on Thursday that during the interrogation, Crime Branch sleuths were keen to know the reasons for filing RTI queries, seeking to know Parrikar’s health status from the CMO.

Addressing a press conference here, 35-year-old Silveira alleged that the Crime Branch officials kept quizzing him about the reasons behind my applications under the Right to Information Act (RTI) vis a vis the health of Parrikar, who is currently undergoing treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer in a US health facility.

“While the FIR against me was filed because of a Facebook post, which questioned whether Parrikar was dead, during my interrogation, all the officers wanted to know is why I had filed the RTI applications seeking the health details of Parrikar,” Silveira said.

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Kenneth was arrested by the Crime Branch of the Goa Police last Wednesday, a day after he put up a post on the social media site suggesting that Parrikar was dead.

Two days prior to his arrest, he had also filed an RTI application with the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), seeking to know, among other things, the expenditure incurred by the state government on the treatment of the Chief Minister, copies of his medical bills, Parrikar’s expected date of return, etc.

“The reason why I filed the RTI was to know how much was being spent from the state exchequer on the treatment of our elected Chief Minister. I am being targeted because of this RTI. The Facebook post was just an excuse for them to arrest me,” Silveira said.

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Parrikar, who was first hospitalised in a local medical facility on February 15 for stomach pain, was rushed to a New York-based health facility last month.

While there is no official confirmation of the severity of his ailment, both the local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit as well as the CMO through statements released to the media have maintained that the Chief Minister is suffering from “mild pancreatitis”.

State BJP president Vinay Tendulkar earlier this week said that Parrikar was expected to return to Goa next month.

–IANS

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