The India Against Corruption and Communalism (IACC) Forum has alleged that the Gopal Kanda promoted company Golden Globe Hotel Private Limited (GGHPL) paid or spent nearly Rs 5 crore in bribes to get all approvals, permissions and licenses for its casino vessel M V Lucky Seven.
The sixth offshore casino vessel M V Lucky Seven, promoted by Golden Globe Hotel Private Limited (GGHPL), owned by former Haryana minister Gopal Kanda, is likely to enter the River Mandovi waters soon. The vessel is likely to start operations from September, reports the Navhind Times.
These bribes were paid to government officials, including officials of the Captain of Ports and several top politicians in the current Goa Government.
Earlier about two months ago, senior Goa Congress legislator Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco in an interview to Prudent Media had made similar allegations that the Manohar Parrikar-led BJP government in Goa was working over-time to bring in the 6th casino in the Mandovi river within a span of 3 days. “They are burning the midnight oil to make sure the 6th casino gets all the paperwork and documentation required to start operations, Lourenco had then alleged.
In the interview Lourenco was quoted by Prudent Media as saying:
They have given the licence to Gopal Kanda. According to the Goa Gambling Act, a person who is accused in criminal or murder cases cannot be issued a license, but this BJP government has re-issued a gambling license to Kanda’s company (GGHPL) to operate the casino, Lourenco alleged, adding, I wonder if they are making financial arrangements to fund their campaign for the Panchayat elections or By-polls.
Lourenco had then blasted the Goa government for ‘supporting’ the casinos, alleging that the casinos were funding the Goa BJP to keep its coalition partners happy. (Read Here) “Casino money is being used to buy MLAs and fund all election activity in Goa by the BJP,” he said.
M V Lucky Seven has been waiting to enter River Mandovi since May 19 after the government decided to renew the licence. Petitioner Golden Globe Hotels Private Limited has prayed before the court to direct the Goa government to allow the vessel to moor in River Mandovi as the vessel is getting damaged due to the high saline content in the sea.
Sources said that following direction from the High Court of Bombay at Goa, officials of the Captain of Ports (CoP) carried out survey of the vessel, which is currently in the sea and in the jurisdiction of the Mormugao Port Trust. Sources said that the survey report was to be submitted to the CoP on June 21 reports Navhind Times. The bribes were allegedly paid to ensure that the various departments concerned who were to issue the respective NOCs or No Objection Certificates did not create any hurdles or ask unwanted questions, says a spokesperson for the IACC Forum.
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The company official said that it intends to operate the offshore casino on River Mandovi by September after obtaining the no-objection certificate from the Captain of Ports and other necessary permissions from the authorities.
Admitting that the sixth casino could arrive in River Mandovi in the near future, by way of renewal of its licence by the government, former Goa CM Laxmikant Parsekar, had earlier said that “the offshore casino will bring in Rs 50 crore to the government exchequer, and that the government just cannot refuse such an impressive revenue, during prevailing circumstances.”
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“If the government coffer receives this revenue by way of renewal of offshore casino licence, then why should I refuse it in times of financial crunch,” he questioned. It may be recalled that the government had recently expressed its opinion before the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court that if M/s Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd (GGHPL) pays the annual recurring fees to the government to the tune of Rs 50 crore, and applies for the renewal of its offshore casino licence, then the same could be considered positively.
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GGHPL, a subsidiary of former Haryana minister Gopal Kanda’s MDLR Group’s casino, had failed to pay the annual licence fee to the state government. The particular licence was earlier in the name of M/s Hotel Leela Venture Limited and subsequently transferred to GGHPL.
GGHPL, in turn, agreed before the court to pay the arrears to the state government within a stipulated time so as to enable the state government to take a decision to renew the offshore casino licence.
The former Chief Minister of Goa Laxmikant Parsekar had earlier said that the arrival of new vessel housing the sixth offshore casino should not be interpreted as a new offshore casino. “Although a new vessel is allowed to house an offshore casino byway of renewal of licence, we will not issue any fresh licence for such a casino,” he reiterated.