The Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Directorate of Vigilance has registered an FIR against a former minister, a senior Goa civil service officer and another individual on alleged charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy and under prevention of corruption act.
The alleged accused have been identified as former minister and the then chairman of Goa Housing Board Nilkanth Halarnkar, the then managing director as well as joint secretary of Goa Housing Board Elvis Gomes and an individual Vincent Gracias.
The matter is pertaining to alleged malpractices in the Goa Housing Board especially pertaining to dropping of land acquisition. The period in question is between 2007 to 2011.
A land admeasuring 30,256 square metre in Margao was identified for implementation of housing scheme, however, the process for land acquisition was allegedly scrapped without following a proper procedure.
According to V Gupta, Superintendent of Police (SP), attached to ACB, a complaint was lodged in February this year by an individual, and that, after a preliminary inquiry the FIR has been registered. “Halarnkar, Gomes and Gracias are the accused in the case. There is substance in the case as such the FIR was registered,” Gupta told media persons.
The FIR was registered last month under sections 420, 120-B of IPC and prevention of corruption act.
Referring to the case, Gupta said that, in December 2007 the Goa Housing Board decided to acquire land in Margao region for implementation of the housing scheme. The land was identified and subsequently, after four months (in August 2008) NOC was obtained from TCP, Margao, wherein land was earmarked as settlement zone. Then, in September 2009, the Goa Housing Board deposited Rs 21,80,000 as 25 per cent of the cost of land with the EDC.
Thereafter, the Housing Board requested the revenue department to issue notification for land acquisition. “Till here, everything was okay, only notification was to be issued. However, from 2009 to 2011 nothing happened,” said Gupta, adding that, “at this time one Vincent Gracias moves a ‘single-page’ application to the managing director, Goa Housing Board requesting not to acquire land as he along with some more people are the cultivators of the said property. Incidentally, Gracias had no authority over the land.”
Soon the chairman of Housing Board calls a meeting without any agenda and says request of the applicant (Gracias) may be considered pending final decision of the government, informed Gupta.
Gomes was said to be the MD as well as joint secretary of Goa Housing Board. “The matter was not placed before the secretary for decision, which actually should have been done. Joint secretary grants approval and refers matter back to MD,” said Gupta.
The Goa Housing Board decides not to go ahead with the project and a message is conveyed to Gracias, Gupta said.
It is interesting to note here that in 2008, from settlement zone (land which was to be acquired), it is changed to commercial zone in 2010 and much before the government decided to drop the processes, the land is sold by some private party, informed Gupta, adding that, “further investigation is in progress in the case.”