Our top leaders being targetted in SEZ scam probe: Goa Congress

Panaji, Oct 21 (IANS) The Goa unit of Congress on Wednesday accused the BJP-led government of victimising of its top party leaders, after the state ACB summoned two former chief ministers in connection with the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) scam probe.

Both Praptapsing Rane and Luizinho Faleiro, who are currently the Leader of Opposition and Congress state president respectively, had nothing to do with the decision to controversially allot the SEZ, which is now being probed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Congress spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar told mediapersons here.

“This government is targeting out leaders. The decision to allot the SEZ was neither taken by the chief minister nor the industries minister, but by the Goa Industrial Development Corporation which has its own decision-making board,” Kawthankar said.

The then Congress-led coalition government in Goa had scrapped the SEZ in the state in 2008, after a string of protests by civil society and allegations of a land scam.

SEZ promoters in question, Meditab Specialities Pvt Ltd, Cipla group, Peninsular Pharma Research Ltd, Paradigm Logistic & Distributors, Planetview Mercantile Pvt Ltd, Inox Mercentile Pvt Ltd and M/s Maxgrow, who had been allotted 32 lakh square metres of land, were asked to halt all work in their allotted areas within a year.

The SEZ allotments had been made at the time when Rane was chief minister and Faleiro was an industries minister in his cabinet.

While the SEZ promoters have challenged the Goa government’s decision to scrap the SEZ policy, in 2012, months after the BJP-led alliance came to power, the ACB filed a First Information Report which alleged that the land allotment to the promoters was arbitrary and illegal.

Kawthankar now claimed that the decision to allot the land was made by the board of the GIDC, in an attempt to insulate Rane and Faleiro.

“It is the board which took the decision, the state machinery is being used only to harass the Congress leaders ahead of the municipal polls,” Kawthankar said.

Municipal polls in Goa are scheduled to be held on October 25.

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