Goa minister booked for land scam

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

PANAJI - Goa’s Tourism and Housing Minister Nilkanth Halarnkar was Tuesday booked by the vigilance department in connection with a multi-million rupee land scam, police said.

The first information report (FIR) against Halarnkar follows written directions from a local court, which instructed the state government to file an FIR after hearing a petition filed by right to information (RTI) activists.

Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) Bosco George told reporters that the Nationalist Congress party (NCP) legislator had been booked under section 409 of the Indian Penal Code (criminal breach of trust by public servant).

Judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) Shabnam Sheikh had earlier ordered the police to file the FIR within 24 hours, after the complainants told the court that the police and the state vigilance department were unwilling to register the complaint against the NCP legislator for over a month now.

Halarnkar, as chairman of the Goa housing board, caused a loss of Rs.57 lakh to the exchequer, by allotting 23,000 sq mts land at a throwaway price of Rs.1,000 per sq mts to his trust, where the land at current rates is valued at more than Rs.4,000, the complainant Kashinath Shetye said.

The land in question is located in the village of Colavle, which is part of Halarnkar’s legislative assembly constituency.

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