North Goa News

Goa: Ban on livestock entry may impact beef supply
Times of India | 2 days ago | |
Times of India
2 days ago | |

PANAJI: The availability of beef is likely to be affected in Goa as the state government has prohibited the entry of livestock into North Goa to prevent the spread of lumpy skin disease (LSD). North Goa collector Mamu Hage said that the director of animal husbandry and veterinary services has said that LSD is a contagious viral disease that primarily affects cows and buffaloes, and spreads rapidly through vectors. As per the order of the North Goa collector the entry of livestock “such as cattle and buffalo, from other states of India into the North Goa district, either directly or indirectly” is prohibited. Ahead of the tourism season that is likely to begin next month, meat traders said that the government should allow the transportation of healthy animals, else it would impact the supply of fresh beef in the state. “The problem is in north India, while animals in Goa or Karnataka are not severely affected by LSD. If there is a restriction on the transportation of animals, it will affect our business,” said Anwar Bepari, general secretary, Quraishi meat traders association. On average, Goa meat complex gets 10 to 15 animals a day, mostly from Maharashtra. “We will hold a meeting with all traders on Saturday to discuss the future course of action to provide for Goa’s daily demand for beef,” said the association’s president, Manna Bepari. The meat traders will also meet the director of animal husbandry and managing director, Goa meat complex, on Monday, to ensure that healthy animals are permitted to be brought to Goa. “These will be animals that are checked by veterinary doctors, that they are not infected with LSD and are therefore fit for slaughter. Only then will they be transported to Goa,” Bepari said. The government said that incidences of LSD have been seen in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Rajasthan, besides a few other states. LSD spreads through the bite of mosquitoes, stable flies and ticks. It can also spread through saliva and contaminated feed and fodder. The disease spreads more rapidly in warm and moist conditions. “This order shall come into force with effect from September 23, until further orders,” Hage said, adding that any person contravening the order will be punishable under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Over the past few months, the department has taken measures with regards to LSD.“We have initiated vaccination of cattle in Goa”, an officer said. “To a large extent, we should be able to control the spread of the disease owing to vaccination. All government dispensaries have been supplied with the vaccines to be administered in cattle,” he said. The self-limiting disease is notorious for the development of skin nodules, which is associated with fever, enlargement of lymph nodes and depression. The disease also causes reduced milk yield, abortion in pregnant animals and sterility in bulls.

Goa: Ban on livestock entry may impact beef supply
Goa: Nigerian gets 2-year jail term after 9.5 years in drugs case
Times of India | 6 days ago | |
Times of India
6 days ago | |

PANAJI: Nine-and-a-half years after he was arrested for being in possession of narcotics, a North Goa court has sentenced Ugochukwu Solomon Ubabuko, a Nigerian national, to two years imprisonment. The court stated that the period of detention undergone by him during investigation and trial be set off against his sentence. Ubabuko was convicted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, after he was found in illegal possession of cocaine and tablets containing ephedrine. The court considered that this is the first conviction against him and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for six months and fined him Rs 10,000 under Section 21 (a) of the narcotics act and to rigorous imprisonment for two years and fined him Rs 25,000 under Section 25 A of the act. Both the sentences are to run concurrently, special judge, Panaji, Sherin Paul stated.

Goa: Nigerian gets 2-year jail term after 9.5 years in drugs case
  • Nigerian gets 2-yr jail term after 9.5 yrs in drugs case
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Nine-and-a-half years after he was arrested for being in possession of narcotics, a North Goa court has sentenced Ugochukwu Solomon Ubabuko, a Nigerian national, to two years imprisonment.The court stated that the period of detention undergone by him during investigation and trial be set off against his sentence.Ubabuko was convicted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, after he was found in illegal possession of cocaine and tablets containing ephedrine.The court considered that this is the first conviction against him and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for six months and fined him Rs 10,000 under Section 21 (a) of the narcotics act and to rigorous imprisonment for two years and fined him Rs 25,000 under Section 25 A of the act.Both the sentences are to run concurrently, special judge, Panaji, Sherin Paul stated.

Drugs worth Rs 31 lakh seized in north Goa in past fortnight
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: In its drive to curb the drug trade, Goa police and the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) have seized drugs worth Rs 31.69 lakh in nine different cases across the North Goa beach belt over the past 15 days, said North Goa SP Shobhit Saxena. The largest quantity seized was of over 14kgs of ganja worth Rs 14.5 lakh. The other drugs seized were hashish oil (120gms), MDMA (80gms), charas (31gms), ecstasy tablets (17gms), LSD capsules (15gms), cocaine (2gms), LSD paper (1.1gms), and methamphetamine (1.1gms). "Eleven persons have been arrested during these drug seizures. Besides these, three habitual drug offenders - Joao Lopes and Abilio D'Souza from Calangute and Valy D'Costa from Quepem - will be placed under preventive arrest. Curlies beach shack and 9 Bar Mirage are two establishments which have been shut down for suspected illegal activities based on a report sent by Anjuna police. The demolition of Curlies is also in progress for violating CRZ norms," Saxena said. Of the 11 accused arrested in the different drug cases, three are foreigners, Gatherine Diai Hayuma (25) and Bianca Carlos Shyo (25), both from Tanzania, and Stephen Slotwiner, 76, from the UK. "Police presence has also been increased, especially in the coastal area of North Goa district. More police personnel have also been deployed in isolated places for continuous patrolling, to collect intelligence to stop illegal activities. We have also briefed shack and hotel owners not to get involved in any illegal activities and have also warned them that if such activities are found then strict action will be initiated against them which may even lead to their establishments being closed," Saxena said. Two Goans are also among those arrested - Frazer Fernandes from Sada Tisk, Ponda, and Niyaz Khader from Assagao. Others accused are from Kerala, Hyderabad, Karnataka and Gujarat. Saxena said that the arrests will help ascertain the main source from where the narcotics are procured. "We have begun an awareness campaign among youth against the use of drugs. Programmes have already been conducted at the St Tereza Higher Secondary School, Candolim, and Dnyanprassarak Mandal's College, Assagao, covering 350 students in each institution. We also request people to provide information regarding any drug abuse in their locality," the SP said.

Drugs worth Rs 31 lakh seized in north Goa in past fortnight
  • Goa: In 3 busts, cops seize drugs worth Rs 16 lakh
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Police on Friday arrested an 83-year-old US national Giovanni Robert Caso at St Michael vaddo, Anjuna. He was found to be in possession of 12gm of LSD liquid and 45gm of MDMA, altogether worth Rs 12 lakh. Anjuna police also arrested Karnataka native Ashraf Kasim, 35 with 4gm of MDMA worth Rs 1.20 lakh. A Mapusa local, Delton Da Costa, 26, was arrested near Karaswada junction. He was in possession of a bag containing a greenish item suspected to ganja. He also had hashish oil and MDMA, altogether worth Rs 2.6 lakh.

  • Drugs worth Rs 31L seized in N Goa in past fortnight
  • Times of India

    Panaji: In its drive to curb the drug trade, Goa police and the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) have seized drugs worth Rs 31.69 lakh in nine different cases across the North Goa beach belt over the past 15 days, said North Goa SP Shobhit Saxena. The largest quantity seized was of over 14kgs of ganja worth Rs 14.5 lakh.The other drugs seized were hashish oil (120gms), MDMA (80gms), charas (31gms), ecstasy tablets (17gms), LSD capsules (15gms), cocaine (2gms), LSD paper (1.1gms), and methamphetamine (1.1gms).“Eleven persons have been arrested during these drug seizures. Besides these, three habitual drug offenders — Joao Lopes and Abilio D’Souza from Calangute and Valy D’Costa from Quepem — will be placed under preventive arrest. Curlies beach shack and 9 Bar Mirage are two establishments which have been shut down for suspected illegal activities based on a report sent by Anjuna police. The demolition of Curlies is also in progress for violating CRZ norms,” Saxena said.Of the 11 accused arrested in the different drug cases, three are foreigners, Gatherine Diai Hayuma (25) and Bianca Carlos Shyo (25), both from Tanzania, and Stephen Slotwiner, 76, from the UK.“Police presence has also been increased, especially in the coastal area of North Goa district. More police personnel have also been deployed in isolated places for continuous patrolling, to collect intelligence to stop illegal activities. We have also briefed shack and hotel owners not to get involved in any illegal activities and have also warned them that if such activities are found then strict action will be initiated against them which may even lead to their establishments being closed,” Saxena said.Two Goans are also among those arrested — Frazer Fernandes from Sada Tisk, Ponda, and Niyaz Khader from Assagao. Others accused are from Kerala, Hyderabad, Karnataka and Gujarat.Saxena said that the arrests will help ascertain the main source from where the narcotics are procured.“We have begun an awareness campaign among youth against the use of drugs. Programmes have already been conducted at the St Tereza Higher Secondary School, Candolim, and Dnyanprassarak Mandal’s College, Assagao, covering 350 students in each institution. We also request people to provide information regarding any drug abuse in their locality,” the SP said.

For months before joining BJP, Lobos faced heat from Goa govt over ‘illegalities’
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Former minister in the previous BJP government Micheal Lobo and his first-time MLA wife Delilah Lobo spent eight months in the Congress party that they joined ahead of the Assembly polls in Goa on February 14. But since June, they began to feel the heat as the state Town and Country Planning Department and the Food and Drugs Administration began cracking down on properties they owned in the touristy coastal belt of Bardez taluka in North Goa.Lobo, a third-time MLA from Calangute, had won his first two terms from the BJP. In the previous government led by Pramod Sawant, he was minister for Ports, Rural Development and Waste Management. In January, the Lobos entered the Congress with great pomp and show. Their entry was expected to be instrumental in reviving the Congress’s fortunes in the state at a time that it was down to just one MLA before the election. The BJP had then said that Lobo had left the party because he could not get a BJP election ticket for his wife. “For us it is desh pratham but for him it is patni pratham (For us its nation first, for him its wife first),” Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had said about Lobo’s exit from the BJP.The Congress that had appeared confident before the election results were declared on March 10, however, suffered a blow after winning only 11 seats in the 40-member House. The BJP won 20 and formed the government with the help of two Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLAs and three independents.In June, about a month before the unsuccessful attempt by Congress MLAs to defect to the BJP, Goa Town and Country Planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane and Lobo, then the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, had locked horns over alleged violations of permissions granted by the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA). The authority had issued two show-cause notices to ‘Micheal Lobo and others’ in view of the violations in two hotels in which Lobo has stakes. Lobo, former chairman of the authority, had then said that he was being ‘targeted’.Tension had been simmering between Lobo and Rane for months. During the last Assembly session, Rane had said that he would expose the “illegalities” allegedly perpetrated by Lobo during his tenure as the chairman of the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA).In a series of tweets in June, Rane had said, “It’s also amusing to see as the report suggests, when he was in power, he had no mercy and committed illegalities such as taking away lands & selling them to people outside state. Who was responsible? How was it accomplished? What was the modus operandi? Citizens must know!”. In the same thread, he said, “LoP is one aspect, what we are doing is exposing illegalities committed. If LoP is part of the illegalities, one cannot do anything, law will take its course. Whether it is running a restaurant from an illegal premise, illegalities in ODP or misusing of power, law will catch up.”Two properties in which Lobo is a partner – Hotel Baga Deck and Nazri Resort – had earlier got notices for illegal construction, while the FDA claimed to have found violations at Pisco by the beach in Anjuna, owned by Delilah Lobo.Delilah, who was the sarpanch of the Parra panchayat before she became an MLA in March, had then said they had been running the businesses for 20-25 years, much before Lobo became an MLA. “Only now that we have joined the Congress, has something gone wrong? When all these years we were in the BJP, everything was fine?”Claiming the alleged violations were “flimsy”, like broken tiles, Lobo said: “So many ministers have also eaten at our restaurants. I asked them if there was anything wrong with our food? They said no, the food was very good…Nobody has filed any complaint against us.”Businessman-turned-politician Lobo is a three-time MLA from Calangute and a wealthy and influential figure in the Bardez taluka of North Goa where popular beaches such as Baga, Calangute, Candolim and Anjuna are located. This area has been a thriving tourist spot for decades, with several hotels, restaurants and places for tourist activities.While the Lobos themselves may not have been the target, their constituencies – especially in the touristy parts – had seen increased crackdowns by the Goa Police against touts, beggars and illegal massage parlours in the months preceding their entry into the BJP on Wednesday.The Special Investigation Team set up by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in June had also begun making arrests in the illegal land grab cases. Majority of these cases, according to the SIT, were located in Anjuna, Assagao, Badem, Calangute, Mapusa, Nerul, Parra and Reis Magos areas of North Goa and some were from Vasco and Margao in South Goa. Thus far, however, the Goa Police had only said that “political links” in these cases were being examined.

For months before joining BJP, Lobos faced heat from Goa govt over ‘illegalities’
At centre of Goa defection storm, Michael Lobo returns to haunt Congress again
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Two months after the Congress accused its then Leader of Opposition (LoP) Michael Lobo of plotting a defection of its MLAs along with senior party leader and former chief minister Digambar Kamat, Lobo returned to deal a blow to the grand old party again, as he along with seven other party MLAs, including his wife Delilah Lobo and Kamat, jumped ship and joined the ruling BJP Wednesday.The Congress had managed to foil their first defection attempt in July, firing Lobo as the LoP. It had then also sought the disqualification of Kamat and Lobo as MLAs, filing disqualification petitions against them before the Assembly Speaker, which are still pending. The state Congress president, Amit Patkar, and other leaders had then also urged the Speaker to change the seating arrangements in the House in accordance with the Congress Legislature Party (CLP)’s resolution removing Lobo as the CLP leader.The three-time MLA from Goa’s tourist hub Calangute, Lobo, 46, had switched to the Congress from the BJP earlier this year in the run-up to the February Goa Assembly polls. “You will know where I am at the right time,” Michael Lobo would frequently say in the months preceding the polls. Soon afterwards he quit the BJP, in whose government he was the Minister for Ports, Science and Technology, Rural Development and Waste Management, and joined the Congress, going on to win another term from Calangute.Months into the term of the new Assembly, Lobo’s remark then – “you will know where I am at the right time” – continues to hold truenow, given his return to the saffron party along with his wife Delilah in a move along with other defectors that would reduce the Congress’s tally to just 3 MLAs in the 40-member Assembly now.Earlier this year, when Lobo severed his 15-year-old ties with the BJP and joined the Congress with Delilah and his supporters, it was seen as a shot in the arm for a crumbling Congress that had seen all but one of its MLAs leaving to join other parties or backing out of the February polls.Before he joined the Congress, Lobo was a minister in the previous BJP government led by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant but was often at odds with the government over statements he made in the press.A political heavyweight in Bardez, North Goa, Lobo was credited with the Congress’s win in four seats in the taluka, including Siolim, from where Delilah won for the first time. Lobo, a businessman with interests in several hotels and restaurants, however, has been at the receiving end of the government’s recent check on “illegalities”.It was this that the then AICC’s Goa in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao referred to at press conference in early July, when he said about Lobo, “He has been working in the background with the BJP to save his own skin. Because of so many cases against him and so many problems he was facing, he has compromised himself.”During the previous BJP regime, tension had been simmering between Lobo and the then Town and Country Planning (TCP) Minister Vishwajit Rane for months. Properties co-owned by the Lobos have been issued notices by the Food and Drug Authority too. During an Assembly session, Rane had said that he would expose the “illegalities” allegedly perpetrated by Lobo during his tenure as the chairman of the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA).When he joined the Congress in January, Lobo had said, “We have joined in the interest of Goa. The way forward for the people of Goa is only the Congress party… When I was deputy Speaker, I had taken a very strong stand. Defection has to end. You cannot switch sides. You have to resign,” he had said.Rao too had then kind words for Lobo: “A very strong, powerful grass-root leader is joining the Congress party. He is connected to the common people, he works for them. He has established himself as a big leader not only in his constituency but all over the (Bardez) taluka….A big force has entered the Congress party.” In July, however, Rao called Lobo a “traitor” and a “backstabber”.As the defection again struck the Congress, it was evident that eight months is a long time for Lobo, the Congress and Goa.Speaking to the media Wednesday, Lobo confirmed that eight of the 11 Congress MLAs have switched to the saffron party. “We have joined the BJP to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant…’Congress chhodo, BJP ko jodo (Leave the Congress, strengthen the BJP)’,” he said.

At centre of Goa defection storm, Michael Lobo returns to haunt Congress again
With Kala Academy shut, tiatrs find new stage at Candolim
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

Calangute: The ‘A-Sala-de-Nossa-Senhora-de-Piedade’ community hall at Dando, Candolim is fast becoming a popular hub for tiatr performances in north Goa with some of the top names heading there to stage shows after the shutdown of Kala Academy.The hall, popularly known as Dando hall or Saibinn hall because of the ‘Piedade Saibinn’ chapel next to it is on the way to Fort Aguada and had been inaugurated by archbishop Felipe Neri Ferrao on October 16, 2019. “There is no other hall open in north Goa after Kala Academy was closed for repairs. Mapusa is there but people are not going there. Margao is the centre of tiatrs in Goa but it is far away, so in the north tiatrists have started coming here,” said Candolim sarpanch Fermino Fernandes who is also a performing artist and had overseen the construction of the hall. Rosefern’s ‘Amche Modem Jiyeta’, comedian Sevy’s ‘8 Dis’ are some of the shows hosted at the hall this month with Sammy Tavares’ tiatr ‘Ghor ek Ghorabo’ drawing a full house recently. The hall, the only one of its kind in the Bardez coastal belt is managed by the Confraria de Nossa Senhora de Piedade, the chapel committee. After being opened in 2019 it was used for private functions and for conferences . “The Taj Fort Aguada have their conferences in this hall because they don’t have a big hall,” Fermino said. Bookings have picked up once again after the Covid pandemic, he said. With Candolim being a central location, many tiatrists are now having their shows there, he said.

With Kala Academy shut, tiatrs find new stage at Candolim
After NGT nod, Goa razes illegal structures at Curlie’s
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

ANJUNA: After the National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave the go ahead to demolish major portions of controversial shack Curlie’s at Dando in Anjuna for CRZ violations, the state government immediately swung into action and began the demolition process by 7.45am on Friday. The operation, in the presence of heavy police force and the North Goa collector, was one of the major demolitions carried out by the state for CRZ violations. Curlie’s has been in the eye of the storm since BJP functionary and TikTok star Sonali Phogat was allegedly given drugs at the shack a few hours before her death. Edwin Nunes, who ran and managed the shack, was among the four arrested in connection with the case. He is presently out on conditional bail. Soon after the operations began, Linet Nunes, on behalf of Curlie’s, moved the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing against the demolition process. The Supreme Court granted a stay on demolition of structures in survey number 42/10 but said unauthorised construction in other areas of the shack can be razed. It said the stay is granted only on the condition that there would be no commercial activity in the specific survey number where the shack is situated. “We have been asked to stop commercial activities at Curlie’s till the hearing,” Curlie’s lawyer Gajanan Korgaonkar said. The demolition was then paused at around 11.20pm by which time nearly 15% of the structure was demolished, and after demarcation of the specific property, it resumed at 3pm and continued till 5.30pm. “As per my information, a lot of demolition work is completed,” said chief minister Pramod Sawant. A senior government official said around 30% of the illegal structure has been demolished. North Goa collector Mamu Hage said the demolition would continue on Saturday. On Friday, over 100 police personnel, a huge labour force and five excavators were brought to the spot. Authorities found it difficult to transport excavator machines to the spot as there is no proper road connectivity. The NGT had said that Curlie’s had extended far beyond the original structure that existed prior to 1991. Though Linet Nunes said not all the structures belong to her, the tribunal said that the fact remains that all structures have been occupied by her. The senior counsel appearing for Curlie’s submitted in the NGT that only the structure in survey number 42/10 belongs to them. This isn’t the first time Curlie’s has been in the news. The first time it made headlines was when the body of a British teenager was found on Anjuna beach on February 18, 2008. The 15-year-old used to visit Curlie’s regularly.

After NGT nod, Goa razes illegal structures at Curlie’s
  • After NGT nod, state razes illegal structures at Curlie’s
  • Times of India

    Anjuna: After the National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave the go ahead to demolish major portions of controversial shack Curlie’s at Dando in Anjuna for CRZ violations, the state government immediately swung into action and began the demolition process by 7.45am on Friday.The operation, in the presence of heavy police force and the North Goa collector, was one of the major demolitions carried out by the state for CRZ violations.Curlie’s has been in the eye of the storm since BJP functionary and TikTok star Sonali Phogat was allegedly given drugs at the shack a few hours before her death. Edwin Nunes, who ran and managed the shack, was among the four arrested in connection with the case. He is presently out on conditional bail.Soon after the operations began, Linet Nunes, on behalf of Curlie’s, moved the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing against the demolition process. The Supreme Court granted a stay on demolition of structures in survey number 42/10 but said unauthorised construction in other areas of the shack can be razed. It said the stay is granted only on the condition that there would be no commercial activity in the specific survey number where the shack is situated. “We have been asked to stop commercial activities at Curlie’s till the hearing,” Curlie’s lawyer Gajanan Korgaonkar said.The demolition was then paused at around 11.20pm by which time nearly 15% of the structure was demolished, and after demarcation of the specific property, it resumed at 3pm and continued till 5.30pm.“As per my information, a lot of demolition work is completed,” said chief minister Pramod Sawant.A senior government official said around 30% of the illegal structure has been demolished.North Goa collector Mamu Hage said the demolition would continue on Saturday.On Friday, over 100 police personnel, a huge labour force and five excavators were brought to the spot. Authorities found it difficult to transport excavator machines to the spot as there is no proper road connectivity.The NGT had said that Curlie’s had extended far beyond the original structure that existed prior to 1991. Though Linet Nunes said not all the structures belong to her, the tribunal said that the fact remains that all structures have been occupied by her.The senior counsel appearing for Curlie’s submitted in the NGT that only the structure in survey number 42/10 belongs to them.This isn’t the first time Curlie’s has been in the news. The first time it made headlines was when the body of a British teenager was found on Anjuna beach on February 18, 2008. The 15-year-old used to visit Curlie’s regularly.

  • Goa: NGT clears way for major parts of Curlies to be razed
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Major portions of the controversial Curlies restaurant, night club and guest house at Dando, Anjuna, are set to be demolished after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) refused to grant relief to Edwin Nunes and Linet Nunes, who run the establishment. The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) had earlier ordered the demolition of Curlies, which Linet had challenged before the NGT. Curlies has been in the news most recently in connection with the death of BJP functionary Sonali Phogat, with Edwin being among the four arrested in connection with the case. He is presently out on conditional bail. The NGT said that Curlies had extended far beyond the original structure that existed prior to 1991. Though Linet said that not all the structures belong to her, the tribunal said that the fact remains that all the structures have been occupied by her. “Fresh construction has been raised in replacement of the original one for commercial purposes, without requisite permission, in a no-development zone. We thus do not find any merit in the appeal (by Linet),” said the tribunal. Linet, said the NGT, has only been able to produce an NOC granted by the village panchayat for one survey number. “The question is whether structures now found are the same that existed prior to 1991 in respect of which the NOC was given by the panchayat or house tax receipts were issued. The answer is ‘no’. The nature of the structure at present is a permanent construction, beyond the original temporary construction limited to survey number 42/10. Present constructions extend to survey numbers 42/9, 11, 45/19, 45/41,” the tribunal said. Despite the GCZMA’s demolition orders issued on July 21, 2016, Curlies continued to operate as Linet challenged the order before the NGT. The GCZMA had ordered to stop commercial activities, had asked the PWD and the power department to cut off the supply of water and electricity respectively, and the panchayat to withdraw any permissions. But Curlies continued to run until recently, despite the orders. Activist Kashinath Shetye, based on whose complaint the CRZ violations by Curlies were investigated, had told the GCZMA that no restaurant existed earlier and that the construction was carried out right on the Anjuna beach and on a sand dune, which is CRZ-I area. The GCZMA’s expert members’ report showed that the permanent structures had been constructed after 2003 and rejected the plea that the structures existed prior to 1991. “The Google images of 2003 do not show any structure in the said property. Therefore, it is apparent that said structure is new and has been constructed in violation of the CRZ Notification right on the high tide line of the sea,” the expert members said.

Covid claims one person in North Goa, 52 new cases
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

PANAJI: A 74-year-old man from North Goa succumbed to Covid-19 at a private hospital in North Goa on Monday. He was vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine and reportedly had comorbidities. Goa reported 52 new infections on Monday. A total of 467 samples were tested with a case positivity rate of 11.1%. This is more than four times the national daily positivity rate of 2.6% recorded on Monday. There were five hospitalisations on Monday, with the other 47 positive cases opting for home isolation. Active cases are now at 570. There were two hospital discharges and 72 recoveries over the past 24 hours.

Covid claims one person in North Goa, 52 new cases
  • Covid claims one person in N Goa, 52 new cases
  • Times of India

    Panaji: A 74-year-old man from North Goa succumbed to Covid-19 at a private hospital in North Goa on Monday. He was vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine and reportedly had comorbidities. Goa reported 52 new infections on Monday. A total of 467 samples were tested with a case positivity rate of 11.1%. This is more than four times the national daily positivity rate of 2.6% recorded on Monday. There were five hospitalisations on Monday, with the other 47 positive cases opting for home isolation. Active cases are now at 570. There were two hospital discharges and 72 recoveries over the past 24 hours.

  • 109 new Covid cases reported in Goa
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Goa reported 109 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday. With 1,219 samples tested, the positivity rate was at 8.9%. The state’s daily positivity rate continues to be in contrast to the daily positivity rate recorded nationally, which was 1.9% on Saturday. TOI had reported on Friday that Goa’s daily positivity rate was at 14.7% as compared to the all India rate of 1.9%. The directorate of health services (DHS) has attributed the higher daily positivity rate in Goa to lower testing during the festive season. Only the very serious cases are coming out to test, DHS stated. There were nil hospitalisations on Saturday and Covid mortalities have been zero for the past five days.

Goa: As Mopa airport gets ready, property rates will take off
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

PANAJI: Once completed, the greenfield international airport at Mopa will shoot up property prices around the airport due to the strong demand for housing and resorts in North Goa’s hinterland belt, said real estate advisory firm 360 Realtors. While real estate and rental yields particularly around Mopa, Arambol, Assagao and Siolim have already surged, a fresh spike is expected once the airport commences operations, say property advisors. The demand for real estate is going to be triggered by hospitality projects, premium homes and wellness resorts with investments pouring in from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Punjab. Research conducted by 360 Realtors indicates that close to 10% of the new hotel inventory in Goa will be situated around the airport that GMR Goa International Airport Limited will operate. This translates into roughly 1,500 new hotel rooms by 2030. “The North Goan region is a hotbed for real estate activities as the demand is continuously going upwards for villas, luxury cottages, second homes and premium apartments. Buyers from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, and other locations have traditionally pivoted to Goa to own second homes and holiday home properties. The market will further get a thrust with the advent of Mopa airport,” said founder and managing director of 360 Realtors Ankit Kansal. Mopa airport is expected to bring North Goa’s Morjim, Anjuna, and Vagator beaches into greater focus, which are already “highly desirable” amongst domestic and international tourists. Siolim, Assagao, Mapusa, Alto Porvorim and other prime residential areas will also see appreciation in prices along with Malvan, Sindhudurg, and Ratnagiri across the border, says Kansal. The Goa government kick started construction of the Mopa airport project in mid-2016. With an initial passenger capacity of 4.4 million per annum, the airport will help decongest Goa International Airport at Dabolim. At the same time, it is going to drive investment up north in the tiny coastal state. Property consultants expect that the rising popularity of remote work culture coupled with the availability of affordable property options will make North Goa a favourite destination amongst the high and mid-income Indian households. Many working professionals and entrepreneurs have shifted from Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad to North Goa. “The Indian HNIs and affluent class have always taken special pride in owning a row house or villa in Goa,” says the research report. “The North Goa region is an emerging real estate destination, drawing the attention of buyers in big volumes. The region is transforming into a bustling farmhouse, second homes, and a concept living destination as well.” Recently, the town and country planning department has released draft construction and building regulations that liberalise the norms for farm houses, film cities and wellness resorts. The 360 Realtors research report expects that around 250 offices with a total area of 10,000sqm will come up in the vicinity of the airport along with an auditorium, museum and convention centre. “Average property prices in North Goa and the nearby Konkan region will also steeply rise mostly in the range of 25-30% annually,” said the research report. “The current rental yields are in the range of 4.1- 7.2%. After the commencement of the airport, it will also increase significantly.”

Goa: As Mopa airport gets ready, property rates will take off
Political links in Goa land grab cases under SIT scanner, says IGP
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Political links in cases of land grab, most of which are in Goa’s coastal belt, are being examined by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the state government, Goa IGP Omvir Singh Bishnoi said on Friday.Bishnoi said the team has so far made 15 arrests, including three key accused — Rajkumar Maithi, Royson Rodrigues and Sandric Fernandes.Asked if politicians were involved in land grab, he said, “Right now, we have a confessional statement of an accused.  Yes, they have named some politicians but before we arrest them, I will not name them.”He said that most of the 95 cases that are under the SIT’s scanner were in areas of Anjuna, Assagao, Badem, Calangute, Mapusa, Nerul, Parra and Reis Magos in North Goa and some from Vasco and Margao in South Goa. “The cases are mostly from coastal areas where the value of land is higher,” Bishnoi said.The Goa government constituted the SIT on June 15 to probe land grab cases. The SIT is led by Nidhin Valsan, a Crime Branch SP.According to the police, accused Royson Rodrigues of Siolim, was allegedly involved in the illegal transfer of 60 properties in Anjuna, Badem-Assagao and Parra in North Goa of which complaints had been received in case of 12. Maithi allegedly forged land records with the state’s Archives department and fraudulently transferred eight properties to his name. The police claimed that he fled to Dubai but was arrested by the Goa Police at the Mumbai Airport on Thursday.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxThe modus operandi, the police said, has been similar. In cases against Maithi, Rodrigues and Fernandes, the complainants were residents of Mumbai who owned land in Goa that, they alleged, was fraudulently transferred to their name by the accused for selling it to third parties.While the three latest accused in the case have been remanded to five days in police custody, some others have been released on bail.Police said many of the cases are linked to one another and if those who have got bail in one case are found involved in other cases, they will be re-arrested.

Political links in Goa land grab cases under SIT scanner, says IGP
North Goa court denies bail to Belarus man for overstaying
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: A North Goa court has rejected the bail application of a 29-year-old Belarus citizen who was arrested by Pernem police for allegedly possessing charas weighing 152g, worth Rs 1.5 lakh, at Khalchawada, Arambol. Although the amount of narcotics he was allegedly caught with is a variable quantity, the court found that despite his visa having expired in January 2020, he hadn't applied for a fresh one nor had he disclosed the source of income that was sustaining him in Goa since then. The court stated that the source of income from January 13, 2020, to date needed to be disclosed because his tourist visa had expired on that date, and his source of income was a material fact to be stated. "The applicant has only stated in the additional information that he has a bank account in Russian Commercial Bank called 'Tinkoff Bank'... at Philip Port branch in Belarus and that the funds available with the applicant are Rs 50,000. However, he has not stated what the source of his income is in order to sustain him in Goa," additional sessions judge, North Goa, Mapusa, Sharmila A Patil said. "Thus, although the rigours of Section 37 of the NDPS Act are not applicable, the fact that the visa of the applicant has expired and he has not applied for a fresh one means that the applicant cannot be granted bail as there is every possibility that he may jump bail, tamper with witnesses and commit similar offences during his illegal stay in Goa," the court held. The Belarus citizen, through his advocate L Lobo, submitted that the case filed against him is totally false and his arrest and detention illegal, unwarranted and unjustified, and that he can renew the visa only if he is released on bail as it is difficult to renew it online from jail. Having arrived in Goa in March 2019 on a valid tourist visa, the Belarus national was residing at Arambol-Pernem when he was arrested by Pernem police in June this year during a raid when he was allegedly found in possession of charas. Public prosecutor R Barreto stated that the foreigner had not taken any steps to apply for a fresh visa, and also that he is not entitled to bail.

North Goa court denies bail to Belarus man for overstaying
  • Court denies bail to Belarus man for overstaying, not declaring income source
  • Times of India

    Panaji: A North Goa court has rejected the bail application of a 29-year-old Belarus citizen who was arrested by Pernem police for allegedly possessing charas weighing 152g, worth Rs 1.5 lakh, at Khalchawada, Arambol. Although the amount of narcotics he was allegedly caught with is a variable quantity, the court found that despite his visa having expired in January 2020, he hadn’t applied for a fresh one nor had he disclosed the source of income that was sustaining him in Goa since then.The court stated that the source of income from January 13, 2020, to date needed to be disclosed because his tourist visa had expired on that date, and his source of income was a material fact to be stated.“The applicant has only stated in the additional information that he has a bank account in Russian Commercial Bank called ‘Tinkoff Bank’… at Philip Port branch in Belarus and that the funds available with the applicant are Rs 50,000. However, he has not stated what the source of his income is in order to sustain him in Goa,” additional sessions judge, North Goa, Mapusa, Sharmila A Patil said.“Thus, although the rigours of Section 37 of the NDPS Act are not applicable, the fact that the visa of the applicant has expired and he has not applied for a fresh one means that the applicant cannot be granted bail as there is every possibility that he may jump bail, tamper with witnesses and commit similar offences during his illegal stay in Goa,” the court held.The Belarus citizen, through his advocate L Lobo, submitted that the case filed against him is totally false and his arrest and detention illegal, unwarranted and unjustified, and that he can renew the visa only if he is released on bail as it is difficult to renew it online from jail.Having arrived in Goa in March 2019 on a valid tourist visa, the Belarus national was residing at Arambol-Pernem when he was arrested by Pernem police in June this year during a raid when he was allegedly found in possession of charas.Public prosecutor R Barreto stated that the foreigner had not taken any steps to apply for a fresh visa, and also that he is not entitled to bail.

Goa: Cannot keep accused in custody till missing couple is traced, says Mapusa court
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: A Mapusa court has granted bail to Vipin Kumar Singh from Bhopal, manager of a nightclub in Baga, in a case involving a couple from Madhya Pradesh and Punjab who went missing in Goa in March. While granting bail, additional sessions judge, North Goa Sharmila A Patil said, "It is rather unfortunate that the victim girl along with Varun Kumar has gone missing and even their bodies have not been found as argued by the public prosecutor for the state, but only to trace the missing couple the applicant cannot be kept in custody and that itself would not be a ground to dis-entitle the accused the right of bail." "Moreover the chargesheet is already filed before the joint magistrate first class. Therefore, I am inclined to accept the case of the applicant and to grant him conditional bail," the court said. Public prosecutor R Barreto told the court that Singh, the bail applicant, is aware of but has not disclosed the missing couple's whereabouts to the investigating officer and his presence is required in custody. The court stated that this cannot be accepted as the law on bail presumes the applicant to be innocent unless proven guilty. An offence was registered at Calangute police station on April 19 on a complaint by the brother of the missing 22-year-old girl that unknown persons wrongfully abducted his sister. Police had received the case papers on March 29 from Panaji police station about the missing girl from the North Goa SP, directing it to trace the missing woman. Calangute police recorded statements of all suspects and witnesses, except Kumar, but no information about the girl could be obtained. An offence was then registered under Section 365 the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against unknown persons. Advocate S Dessai said that Singh got a call at 2am on March 3 this year at his Porvorim residence that the couple had an altercation at a hotel in Candolim and the woman was threatening suicide. Singh visited the hotel and sorted out the fight which was going on in the presence of guests and employees. He said that there was no contact with the couple after the incident. The woman had also contacted police control room (PCR) informing them that she was being confined in room 404 of the hotel. The police checked all rooms of the hotel in Candolim but couldn't locate the caller. Her phone was also unreachable. Barreto stated that most of the witnesses whose statements were recorded are employed by him and that they wereleaving the state when they were called for questioning. This, the prosecutor said, indicates that they have witnessed a serious incident of the missing girl.

Goa: Cannot keep accused in custody till missing couple is traced, says Mapusa court
Frame graft charges against PSI, orders North Goa court
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: A North Goa court has directed that charges be framed under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 against a police sub inspector.“In my considered view, the material on record prima facie raises strong suspicion that the accused have committed an offence punishable under Section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988,” stated additional sessions judge, North Goa, Panaji, Edgar P Fernandes.The anti-corruption bureau (ACB), vigilance, had filed a chargesheet alleging that the accused, while working as a police sub inspector of the Goa police department and posted as PSI in the anti-narcotic cell police station between September 30, 2009 and December 31, 2010, secured assets in his own name as well as in the name of his mother who was working as a sweeper/housekeeper at Bal Bhavan. The ACB stated that these assets, to the tune of Rs 10.88 lakh, are disproportionate to their known sources of income and 168% of their income for the period. The court stated that material on record reveals that the PSI deposited cash of Rs 1.43 lakh in State Bank of India, Panaji branch, Rs 3.32 lakh in Canara Bank, St Cruz branch during the check period while his mother deposited cash of Rs 2.75 lakh in Canara Bank, St Cruz branch, Rs 1.48 lakh in SBI Panaji branch, Rs 1.59 lakh in Goa Urban Co-operative Bank, Panaji branch apart from depositing Rs 2.38 lakh in cash in the loan account of Goa Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd, Panaji branch during the check period.Senior advocate Shankar Hegde representing the accused submitted that the investigating officer did not consider the statement of the PSI’s brother who was earning around Rs 37,000 per month and the statement of his father who was earning around Rs 8,000 per month. He said statements of others, about money being paid/given by them to the accused and his family members, were also not considered. The court however stated that records show that the investigating officer considered these aspects.

Frame graft charges against PSI, orders North Goa court
In I-Day speech, Goa CM Pramod Sawant vows to keep state’s social harmony intact
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday said Goa had shown that it was special since different religions lived in harmony in the state following a Uniform Civil Code. He said the state was in line with “One nation, one emotion, one identity”.In his Independence Day address from the Old Secretariat in Panaji, Sawant said, “We have shown that Goa is special. With a Uniform Civil Code, we have shown the unity among Hindus, Christians, Muslims. We will always keep our unity intact in the future as well.”Remembering freedom fighters who strived for India’s Independence in 1947 and the liberation of Goa in 1961, Sawant said, “We all know that India achieved its Independence in 1947 but since Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli remained under Portuguese rule, this Independence was incomplete.”In a slew of announcements, Sawant said that the Mopa International Airport in North Goa would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the months ahead. “The Mopa International Airport, although a little late, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modiji,” he said. The airport that has been touted as a “game-changer” for Goa tourism, and was earlier slated for an opening between August 15 and September 1, would now be opened after September, he said.Sawant said that it was his government’s endeavour to ensure that every scheme of the central government and the state government reached the last beneficiary and the ‘Swayampurna Goa 2.0’ mission was being carried out with that in mind.He congratulated the newly elected members of the 186 village panchayats in Goa that went to polls on August 10. “If newly elected sarpanch, panch members forget political differences, if NGOs support this work, then truly we will make Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav a success and make Goa sujalaam, sufalaam (irrigated and fertile). I call upon you to say that the government needs your support,” Sawant said.He said that under the Centre’s Gati Shakti mission, a master plan had been prepared for Goa to improve connectivity by road, rail, air and waterways. His government, he said, was working together with the Central Public Works Department to ensure robust connectivity to the upcoming Mopa International Airport.The chief minister said that across Indian states, “aspirational districts” had been identified for development but since Goa was a small state, they have identified “aspirational villages” of which six are in North Goa and 10 in South Goa. Sawant said that the government has laid emphasis on organic farming and encouraged the cultivation of traditional crops like coconut, jackfruit and paddy. Under the Goan brand, the government was promoting the cultivation of jackfruit in North Goa and coconut in South Goa. He said that on Sustainable Development Goals, Goa was the only state to have scored 100 points for clean water and sanitation, and affordable and clean energy.Sawant said that in the next 25 years, when India celebrates its 100th Independence Day, the number of tourists coming to Goa would have risen manifold. “Goa will be the tourism capital of India,” he said. “If we want quality tourists, it is our duty to keep Goa clean and beautiful,” Sawant said. He said that the government would revive 75 lakes in the state under the central government’s Amrit Sarovar mission and announced that the national flag was hoisted on Sunday near 22 such lakes that were earlier neglected.He also said that Goa would be ready to host the National Games in 2022. The implementation of the National Education Policy had already begun in the state, he said, and added that Goa was the first state to introduce coding and robotics in its school curriculum.

In I-Day speech, Goa CM Pramod Sawant vows to keep state’s social harmony intact
Goa: Five-month-old girl killed at Sirsaim, parents arrested
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: A five-month-old girl was allegedly beaten to death at Sirsaim on Saturday night. Colvale police have registered a murder case and arrested the parents. Police suspect the baby was killed as she was the second girl child born to the couple. “Sudhan Gondlekar, 42, and Arminda Dora Fernandes, 32, have been arrested in connection with the murder,” Colvale police inspector Somnath Mahajik told TOI. He said both the parents are trying to blame each other for the baby’s death. Mahajik said the baby was killed on Saturday night at their rented house at Sirsaim, on the outskirts of Mapusa. The couple’s two-year-old daughter was at her grandparent’s place in the same village, he said. During the early hours of Sunday, the father arrived at the Colvale police station with the baby who had multiple injuries. Police immediately shifted her to the North Goa district hospital in Mapusa, where she was declared dead. The body was later shifted to the Goa Medical College. Mahajik said the cause of death would be confirmed after the postmortem is conducted on Monday. Police said during the initial investigation it has come to light that both parents were not happy with the birth of the second girl child. Police said when the infant’s father reached home at around 10.30pm on Saturday, he saw that the baby was not making any movements. Mahajik said that initially the parents were in two minds whether to dispose of the body or to report the incident to police. “Later the father made a decision to report the incident to police and he came to the police station along with the baby,” he said. Police said the father is a coconut plucker, while the mother is a homemaker.

Goa: Five-month-old girl killed at Sirsaim, parents arrested
  • Five-month-old girl killed at Sirsaim, parents arrested
  • Times of India

    Panaji: A five-month-old girl was allegedly beaten to death at Sirsaim on Saturday night. Colvale police have registered a murder case and arrested the parents. Police suspect the baby was killed as she was the second girl child born to the couple.“Sudhan Gondlekar, 42, and Arminda Dora Fernandes, 32, have been arrested in connection with the murder,” Colvale police inspector Somnath Mahajik told TOI. He said both the parents are trying to blame each other for the baby’s death.Mahajik said the baby was killed on Saturday night at their rented house at Sirsaim, on the outskirts of Mapusa. The couple’s two-year-old daughter was at her grandparent’s place in the same village, he said.During the early hours of Sunday, the father arrived at the Colvale police station with the baby who had multiple injuries. Police immediately shifted her to the North Goa district hospital in Mapusa, where she was declared dead.The body was later shifted to the Goa Medical College. Mahajik said the cause of death would be confirmed after the postmortem is conducted on Monday.Police said during the initial investigation it has come to light that both parents were not happy with the birth of the second girl child. Police said when the infant’s father reached home at around 10.30pm on Saturday, he saw that the baby was not making any movements.Mahajik said that initially the parents were in two minds whether to dispose of the body or to report the incident to police. “Later the father made a decision to report the incident to police and he came to the police station along with the baby,” he said.Police said the father is a coconut plucker, while the mother is a homemaker.

Goa sees rise in demand for small Ganesh idols, artists say Maharashtrians setting trend
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Sculptors in Goa have been observing an increase in demand for small idols of Lord Ganesh for installation at home during the 10-day festival, which they attribute to the steady rise in the number of Maharashtrians settling in the state of late.Artists say that natives of Goa usually opt for idols of the elephant-headed god that are average of two feet in size, while people from Maharashtra — those who have made the state their new home — want idols sized less than a foot.​Buy Now | Our best subscription plan now has a special priceThere is a growing trend of people from Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai, settling in Goa after the pandemic broke out and made work-from-home the new normal.Like Maharashtra, Goa has a rich tradition of celebrating the Ganesh festival, which is known as ‘Chovoth’ here. This year, the festival will start on August 31.Ritesh Chari, an artist, who is taking ahead his family business of making idols, says there has been a perceptible rise in the demand for smaller Ganesh idols over the past couple of years as compared to the pre-pandemic period.“There has been an increasing trend of demand for small idols – as tiny as 10 inches. This was never witnessed in the past,” said Chari, who keeps the Ganesh idols in a makeshift structure in Margao town for display and sale.He said that his unit makes Ganesh idols in Ponda town in North Goa district, his native place, from where they are transported to Margao in South Goa.The buyers of smaller Ganesh idols are mostly Marathi-speaking, which indicates that they are not natives of Goa, Chari said, adding that Goan families usually prefer idols that are two feet or more in size.Another idol maker, Ramakant Amonkar, who is from Marcel village in North Goa, said, “There is tradition in Mumbai to install and worship smaller Ganesh idols at home during the festival, whereas the idols in Goa are bigger in size.” He said that the demand for smaller Idols is across Goa, especially in the urban areas like Panaji, Margao, Ponda and Mapusa.“Many families have shifted to Goa during COVID-19, especially those who are retired are preferring to make home in Goa, away from the fast-paced and crowded city like Mumbai,” he said.Many families have stopped going to their ancestral villages and prefer to celebrate the Ganesh festival at their home in Goa, due to which they prefer to have smaller idols, Amonkar said.“Smaller idols can also be easily transported for immersion,” he added.The art of making Ganesh idols has been preserved by many families in the state.Chari, 29, recalls how he learnt this skill from his uncle and would like to pass it on to the future generation.He said the rise in the prices of raw material has forced them to increase the rates.“The cheapest idols are priced at Rs 800, while the expensive ones are valued at Rs 12,000. Average middle class family buys Idol costing Rs 2,500 to Rs 2,800, which is a price of two foot Ganesh,” he said.Chari has made 200 clay idols this time.Rajendra Deshpande, a photographer by profession, is among the rising number of people who have made Goa their new home after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020.Deshpande, who will be celebrating Chovoth with his family members here, said lower real estate prices and the option to work-from-home made him shift his base to Goa from Mumbai.“Life in Goa is very peaceful. We shifted here when COVID-19 was at its peak. Now we have settled here permanently,” he said.Goa Information Technology Minister Rohan Khaunte said the government is promoting the state as a destination where people from outside can come and work.​​ 📣 For more lifestyle news, follow us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook and don’t miss out on the latest updates!

Goa sees rise in demand for small Ganesh idols, artists say Maharashtrians setting trend
Goa: Land grab SIT probing 100 properties, most in Bardez
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: The SIT probing the Goa land grab scam is currently dealing with 35 such cases involving nearly 100 properties across the state. The highest concentration of fraudulently-transferred properties are in Bardez taluka, said crime branch SP Nidhin Valsan. As of now, nine arrests have been made. “We are investigating 35 cases in all so far, of which 28 are those transferred from other units, and seven FIRs have been registered so far,” said Valsan. “We are receiving many complaints. All complaints related to land are being directed to us. But as an SIT, we are concentrating only on those complaints where there is a crime syndicate involvement.” There is also one case of government-owned land being illegally transferred in Sanguem, he said. “We registered one case on Monday, where the complaint came from the Sanguem mamlatdar office and requested us to register an FIR and take up the investigation. These properties were notified to be government land after the transfer of power from the Portuguese. But the illegal transfer has been happening since 2013,” said Valsan. In the rest of the cases, the lands being targeted by the accused persons are those which do not have owners, or where the owners are not presently residing in India, said the SP. “Since there are a lot of properties being targeted, I would urge owners to do a recheck, and if there are any issues, they should file a complaint with us,” Valsan said. Besides the two government servants earlier arrested for their involvement, the SIT is also investigating the possibility of other government employees being involved. “We are doing further investigation. If there is involvement of any government servant, we will take necessary action,” said Valsan. The concentration of fraudulently-transferred properties are mostly in North Goa, he said. “In South Goa too we have come cases. But most lands which have come under the purview of SIT are situated in North Goa, particularly Bardez. We are investigating matters related to close to 100 properties and the process of receiving complaints is still on,” said Valsan. He said that though some of the arrested accused have been granted bail by the court, conditions have been laid down to force their cooperation in the investigation. “The court is granting bail based on certain conditions, and if we feel the accused persons are not cooperating, we will approach the court,” Valsan said. More awareness needed on cyber crimes in Goa Crime branch SP Nidhin Valsan said that more awareness is needed in the state to curb cyber crimes. “Cyber crimes have to be brought under control in two ways — prevention and detection. The most important part is spreading awareness. Prevention is important because most cases happen due to ignorance or carelessness. Somebody may send a message to share your OTP to them,” said Valsan. He said the Goa police’s crime branch has started creating awareness among students, industries and citizens to bring down cyber crimes in the state.

Goa: Land grab SIT probing 100 properties, most in Bardez