A Counter to the Charges
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.
ENOUGH ALREADY CM Parrikar at a press conference in Panaji