A Counter to the Charges

India Today - - STATES - By Ki­ran D. Tare

Chief min­is­ter Manohar Parrikar’s de­ci­sion to open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion against Kashinath Shetye, a state em­ployee and pro­lific RTI ac­tivist, is the new flash­point be­tween the rul­ing BJP and the Congress in Goa. An­nounc­ing the in­quest in the state assem­bly on Au­gust 4, Parrikar cited al­le­ga­tions that Shetye, who works with the power depart­ment, had vi­o­lated ser­vice rules and pos­sessed dis­pro­por­tion­ate wealth.

No­tably, in the past five years of the BJP gov­ern­ment, Shetye had filed 195 pe­ti­tions in var­i­ous courts and with the Na­tional Green Tri­bunal, deal­ing with de­ci­sions or vi­o­la­tions of vir­tu­ally ev­ery depart­ment in the gov­ern­ment. Dur­ing this pe­riod, the of­fi­cial also sub­mit­ted 495 ap­pli­ca­tions for leave, os­ten­si­bly to at­tend court hear­ings.

“This per­son (Shetye) has vi­o­lated ev­ery rule and reg­u­la­tion [in­clud­ing] the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act,” the CM claimed in the leg­isla­tive assem­bly, re­spond­ing to a query from BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral.

Pre­dictably, root­ing for Shetye, Congress party spokesman and Parrikar’s ri­val in the Panaji by­elec­tions, Girish Cho­dankar, said the gov­ern­ment’s ac­tion was ex­ces­sive. “Shetye is play­ing a pos­i­tive role. He should have been re­warded for ex­pos­ing mis­deeds,” he says. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the case say it will be tough to pin Shetye down on cor­rup­tion charges.

In­ter­est­ingly, what would oth­er­wise have been no more than a rou­tine state in­quiry, has be­come a rag­ing issue in Panaji ahead of the Au­gust 23 by­polls where Parrikar is the BJP’s can­di­date.

PTI

ENOUGH AL­READY CM Parrikar at a press con­fer­ence in Panaji

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