Lokmat Editor Raju Nayak “flexed muscle” against RTI activists

Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, Goa correspondent of The Pioneer, New Delhi reports from capital Panaji:

Editor of Marathi daily under court scanner for ‘scuttling’ graft probe

An editor of a popular multi-edition Marathi newspaper has been involved in using threats and complainants to scuttle legal proceedings in a case involving misappropriation of public funds, a Goa court has said.

The startling observations were made by special sessions judge Nutan Sardessai in her order allowing complainants Kashinath Shetye and Ketan Govekar, incidentally both Right to Information (RTI) activists, to intervene in the anticipatory bail case of an ex-committee member of an educational trust that has been accused of misappropriating Rs 21 lakh of public funds.

“The powerful and politically connected persons of the School Trust/Society and the editor of Lokmat, Raju Nayak, either flexed their muscle to instil fear in their minds or otherwise tried to entice or lure them with promises of rewards in the event they comply in order to scuttle the legal proceedings,” Sardessai said in her order, which has come as a shocker for the media fraternity here.

“The problem of misappropriation of public funds in Goa is on the rise, a threat of immeasurable gravity, threatening the future of the Government and the society and much more so when an educational establishment, teachers and officials of the police of the State are inextricably entangled in corruption to protect them and to facilitate their functioning. The interveners are receiving threats periodically on phone to withdraw the application. Even the editor of Lokmat, Raju Nayak is involved,” Sardessai further said.

The order also states that two complainants had not only been threatened and induced, but also harassed, put “under private surveillance” and were “constantly followed”.

“The authorities concerned for extraneous reasons and/or for illegal benefit/gratification from the proceeds are turning a blind eye to the illegalities and also to their complaint. The police are pressurized into inaction which is apparent from their refusal to act since 2009 and hesitating to arrest powerful politicians who are in fact the primary accused in the matter,” the court further said.

Sawant, an ex-committee member of the trust running the Shri Durga English School of Pernem, 30 kms from here, had filed for anticipatory bail after a criminal complaint accused trust officials of misappropriating Rs 21 lakh from a Rs 36 lakh Government loan.

Lokmat is a popular Marathi daily which runs several editions in Maharashtra, including one in Goa.

When asked for comment on the court order, Lokmat’s group editor Dinkar Raikar did not respond.

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Mopa (Goa) airport is a scam to eliminate Goa – Late Tourism Minister Mathany Saldanha

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Cortalim (Goa) Alina Saldanha, wife of Former Tourism Minister of Goa Late Matanhy Saldanha,  has publicly categorically stated that her late husband
Matanhy was not for or against Mopa Airport.

Former Tourism Minister of Goa Late Matanhy Saldanha wrote in 2008 :

It is now very clear why many politicians and vested interest want the Mopa
airport. Many who are demanding for Mopa airport are ignorant or pretend to
be ignorant, that Goa is going to lose its identity since the builders are
going to build only for migrants from other states. Imagine how much land
is already sold to fly by night vested interest in Pernem alone. Similar is
the case throughout Goa. Read the below report: (Gomantak Times, 30th
August, 2008)

Hill cutting after purchasing land at cheap rates by non Goan builders is
rampant in Pernem taluka. Presently, hill locks in Mandrem, Chopdem and
Korgao are flattened and if this continues there is every possibility of
permanent damage to the forest covering in the taluka.
According to information available, builders brought large tracks of
thickly vegetated land in Pernem during the period from April 2006 and June
2008.
This includes 8.16 lakh sq mts of area by Mangala Realtors Pvt Ltd, Vasco
in Alorna, 4.61 lakh sq mts by J M Township, 4.38 sq mts by M/s Christian
Farm Land (India) Pvt Ltd from Bangalore, 3.05 lakh sq mts by M/s N E
Electronics Ltd, Guwahati- Assam, 2.5 lakh sq mts by Leading Hotels Pvt
Ltd, Delhi, 2.57 lakh sq mts by M/s Wide Properties, Panaji, 2.44 lakh sq
mts by Beside Realty Pvt Lmt, Mumbai and two plots of 2.27 lakh  and 2.13
lakh sq mts by Enterprises Value Investment (India) Pvt Ltd company,
Mumbai.
Similarly Amrapali Realtor, Delhi (25,587 sq mts), Padmashil Fine West Pvt.
Ltd, Parel (15,980 sq. mts), Messers Rajan Hatiskar, Thane, Maharastra
(108, 842 sq. mts), Pushpalata Samant, Dadar Mumbai (1.1 lakh sq. mts) and
M/s Prasanna Developers (1.16 lakh sq. mts) have also brought land during
this period. Residents fear, the forest areas may completely vanish, due to
the proposed Mopa airport, tourism business and other demand for land in
Pernem taluka.
Goa is already saturated. With further profit ridden development, by
builders, real estate agents and some unscrupulous elected representatives,
Goa soon will make all Goans not only a minority, but strangers in their
own land. Do we want this?
Demand for Special Status, to stop sale and transfer of land to
individuals, companies from other states.
Goans and all others who love Goa, irrespective of religion, caste, region
or political affiliations, UNITE to stop Goa from being eliminated.

S/d
Matanhy Saldanha
(Former Tourism Minister)