Goa minister refutes allegations of misappropriation of funds; Oppn demands CM's resignation

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Panaji, Feb 3 (PTI) Goa Minister Govind Gaude on Saturday refuted Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar's allegations that he had misappropriated Rs 26.85 lakh distributed to clubs and organisations by the state art and culture department and claimed that the money was disbursed after following due process.


Tawadkar had on Friday accused the art and culture minister of misappropriating funds of Rs 26.85 lakh by distributing the money to clubs and organisations under a scheme of his department for conducting cultural programmes, which were never held.

Talking to PTI, Gaude refuted the allegations and said that cultural events were held and if any money was paid, it would be recovered.

The minister said financial assistance is released to groups and organisations only after fulfilling formalities, and if any organisation fails to utilise the funds within that financial year, the sum is recovered with interest.


Due process is followed while disbursing funds, and they are provided to groups irrespective of their political affiliations.

"We don't consider which MLA the group is supporting. We release funds to encourage local talent and artists," Gaude said, adding that women have used the financial scheme to conduct programmes, especially in rural Goa.

The Speaker had on Friday alleged that the art and culture department disbursed a huge amount of funds to several organisations in Canacona after these organisations submitted "fake proposals" to conduct cultural programmes.


Gaude was aware of this scam, and there should be an inquiry against him and his department, he had said.

Meanwhile, opposition parties in Goa on Saturday demanded Chief Minister Pramod Sawant's resignation over the allegation against Gaude.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Amit Patkar said his party has always maintained that the BJP-led state government was "corrupt".


"We have been raising issues against Gaude. Now the Speaker himself has said that there is corruption," he said.

The Congress leader further said the chief minister should take responsibility and resign on moral grounds.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be in Goa on February 6, will also have to explain to the people about this corruption," Patkar said.

Citing that the Rs 26.85 lakh scam was huge, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Goa chief Amit Palekar said, "His (Gaude's) department has disbursed money for events that were never held. Local MLA (Ramesh Tawadkar) did not know about all this," he said. PTI RPS ARU