Times of India | 3 weeks ago | 05-06-2022 | 04:34 am
Panaji: After a rise in cases for three days, Goa’s daily Covid-19 count dropped from 50 to 36 on the weekend on Saturday. The fresh cases have taken the active tally is 233. A total of 679 samples were tested, with a 5.3% positivity rate. There were no hospitalisations or deaths. State epidemiologist Dr Utkarsh Betodkar said as long as the current strain continues to be Omicron, infections — although they may rise — will be mild. When asked about people not getting testedand considering Covid-19 a mere flu, director of health services Dr Geeta Kakodkar said it is one’s “social responsibility” to get tested.
Security has been tightened outside the Taj Resort and Convention Centre in Goa’s Dona Paula ahead of the arrival of rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and MLAs backing him. The rebel leaders will fly to Mumbai Thursday to take part in the floor test at the Maharashtra legislative assembly.The Shinde faction, which is set to break away from Shiv Sena and stake claim to form the government in Maharashtra with the BJP, is expected to arrive in Goa late evening after a long stay in Guwahati.The rebel MLAs took off from Guwahati even as Shiv Sena’s petition challenging the floor test called on Thursday by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was being heard in the Supreme Court. Flying in closer to Mumbai on a special Spice Jet flight, Panaji will be the third stop for the breakaway legislators in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra. While initially they had reached Surat, they later shifted to Guwahati and will now reach Panaji.The sea-facing hotel located in the posh Dona Paula area near Panaji is a short distance from the Goa Raj Bhavan. “On Wednesday evening, there was heavy police deployment outside the hotel with over 100 rooms booked for the Shinde camp and their aides,” said sources.As tourists milled around the hotel lobby Wednesday, sources added that armed officers of the Goa Police kept vigil at the hotel. Outside, there was heavy barricading on what was an overcast Wednesday afternoon.Sources also said that senior police officers of the Goa Police also reviewed the security arrangements at the five-star hotel Wednesday evening.The Goa Police have also strengthened its checks at its northern border at Patradevi. Goa shares a border with Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. Shiv Sena MLA from Sidhudurg Vaibhav Naik is backing Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray while senior Shiv Sena leader and MLA from Sawantwadi Deepak Kesarkar is among the rebels with Shinde.
Goa Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Tuesday said that archives of the state Assembly were intact and that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant may have been “misguided” when he said that records of the House from 1963 to 2000 were destroyed.On Monday, Sawant had said that records of the Assembly’s first session in 1963, and up to 2000, were destroyed when the Assembly was relocated from Adil Shah Palace in Panaji to Porvorim in 2000.“I wanted to preserve them, but they were destroyed. I am sorry, this should not have happened. Since 2000, we are preserving the records and their digitisation is being done,” Sawant had said on Monday while addressing the opening of a training programme for MLAs ahead of the monsoon session next month.On Tuesday, Tawadkar told The Indian Express, “The statement is incorrect. Somebody has misguided him (Sawant). All our documents are intact. Nothing has been destroyed.”Sawant, who was the Speaker in 2017, had said, “Old records of the Assembly proceedings, including speeches of Goa’s first chief minister, Dayanand Bandodkar, were destroyed when the Secretariat was shifted from the Adil Shah Palace building to the new complex in 2000.”Tawadkar, however, said that all documents, including Bandodkar’s speeches, questions and answers, and proceedings of the Assembly were available in digitised form. He also said, “I have told him (CM Sawant) that somebody has misguided him. The statement is not correct.”
Opposition Legislators in Goa refused to attend a training workshop organised by the Assembly at a five-star hotel in Panaji on Monday.While the Congress said the same two-day training workshop could have been held in the Assembly without burdening the finances, the AAP said MLAs need not receive training from the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini institute, an RSS-affiliate.Leader of the Opposition Micheal Lobo said they had attended the opening ceremony in respect of the Speaker’s chair but they were of the view that the session could have been held on the Assembly premises in Porvorim that has all the facilities for a conference and catering.The session was aimed at training and educating MLAs about the procedures and processes of the Assembly. Nineteen of Goa’s 40 legislators are first-time MLAs.
A local court in Panaji has asked the Goa police to file in a case of alleged financial irregularities in the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held in Goa in 2014.In a complaint filed in 2015, Goa Forward Party (GFP) General Secretary (Organisation) Durgadas Kamat had alleged illegalities in the bills raised for IFFI causing a loss of Rs 5 crore to the state exchequer. He said he filed a private complaint before the magistrate after the police did not act on his complaint.“The allegations made in the complaint are of serious nature involving huge money and therefore, the respondent is required to do detailed investigations based on documentary evidence available. The manner in which the inquiry already done by the respondent appears to be mere eye wash and not seriously done. The authority under which said inquiry done is also not known,” wrote Chief Judicial Magistrate, ‘A’ Court, Panaji Ram Subrai Prabhu Dessai, in his six-page order of June 8.🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨The court ordered that an FIR under sections 408 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 419 (cheating with knowledge of wrongful loss) be registered. “I find that there is absolute need for thorough investigation in the matter in order to unearth the truth in respect of the allegations made in the complaint,” the magistrate said.On April 6, the court had asked the state government to produce all the case files related to this complaint. The court was informed that they were handed to a special public prosecutor who died in 2018. The court noted that the special public prosecutor died and “the case papers remained with him and inspite of efforts made by the police the file could not be traced.” The court said that there was no documentary evidence to show that the files were handed over to the prosecutor and it was not the specific case of the police that the files of the case were destroyed.“Even otherwise, during the pendency of the present proceedings, the respondent ought not to have destroyed the records pertaining to the investigation in this crime. It is also not the case of the respondent that final report has been filed in the said crime and therefore, the question of destruction of the investigation papers does not arise at all,” the court said.The court also asked the police to file a monthly report in the case.
Congress leaders and workers were briefly detained by police in Panaji on Thursday for protesting against the Enforcement Directorate’s questioning of Rahul Gandhi for the third consecutive day.The Congress had called for a peaceful protest near the Raj Bhavan in Dona Paula. State Congress president Amit Patkar said a party delegation was slated to meet Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai on Thursday.They marched from the Dona Paula circle to the Raj Bhavan but the police stopped them and rounded them up in vans. “The governor wanted to meet us but even before we could reach the Raj Bhavan, the police stopped us. Democracy is being murdered in this country,” said Patkar, who led the protest.He said about 25 Congress workers were detained by the police and released later. Congress MLAs including Sankalp Amonkar, Kedar Naik, Altone D’costa and Yuri Alemao met police officers at the Panaji police station in the afternoon.Amonkar said, “We were first told that this is preventive detention but now they have booked a case under section 151 (of the Indian Penal Code).” Section 151 pertains to “knowingly joining or continuing in an assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse”.