Goa AAP’s CM candidate summoned by ACB in housing scam case

Panaji, Dec 23 (IANS) A few days after the Aam Aadmi Party named him as its chief ministerial candidate in Goa, former bureaucrat Elvis Gomes has been summoned by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the Goa Police in connection with a housing scam case.

The AAP Goa convener has accused the BJP-led coalition government of the state of victimisation and has demanded that all land acquisition procedures which were initiated and subsequently dropped over the last few years, should be probed.

Gomes, along with Nilkanth Halarnkar, a former Minister for Housing in the erstwhile Congress-NCP alliance government, has been summoned to report before the investigating officer on December 26, a senior ACB official told IANS on Friday.

“They have been asked to report before the ACB on December 26,” a senior police official said on the condition of anonymity.

Gomes and Halarnkar were booked under Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) in February this year, while Gomes was still a serving bureaucrat.

The duo has been accused of scrapping official acquisition procedure for a piece of land measuring 30,256 sq metres in South Goa’s Margao, and again without following procedure, giving an opportunity for vested interests to purchase the land subsequently.

During his visit to Goa last week, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP co-convener Arvind Kejriwal described Gomes as an honest officer and nominated him as the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate in the state, which will go to polls early next year.

Gomes has in the past called the accusation his “political victimisation”, with an eye on the state assembly elections and has said that he has committed no illegality.

Gomes has also claimed that he was not even holding office when the land acquisition process was moved.

“We demand that all land acquisition procedures which were initiated and dropped in the last ten years, during the respective tenure of the governments led by the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine and the current BJP-led coalition should be probed,” Gomes said.

The AAP leader also said that in one specific land acquisition deal involving a tract of land meant for parking at the Dabolim airport, which was later reverted to private ownership, opposition BJP politicians as well as those from the Congress-NCP ruling coalition had received kickbacks.