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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

CS SEEKS MORE TIME TO FILE REPORT ON 2016 BRICS SUMMIT FOOD SCAM PROBE

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A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Prithviraj Chavan has adjourned to June 19th as the Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma sought further time to file his report on the investigation into the complaint filed by Adv. Aires Rodrigues over the 2016 BRICS summit 51 lakh food scam.

On 24th April while hearing the petition jointly filed by the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police challenging the jurisdiction of the Goa Human Rights Commission (GHRC) to order an investigation into the food scam, the High Court had asked the Chief Secretary to submit his report to the Court which should also include suggestions as to how the working conditions of the Goa Police can be improved and proper care be taken.

Acting on the complaint filed by Adv. Aires Rodrigues the GHRC comprising of A.D.Salkar and J.A Keny on 14th December last year had asked the Chief Secretary to submit a detailed report within 45 days after conducting a thorough inquiry and fix responsibility and accountability on the erring officials. The GHRC in its order outlined 28 points to be examined by the Chief Secretary while conducting the inquiry.

Incidentally the Chief Secretary in his reply to the GHRC on 25th of January this year had stated  that the inquiry had been initiated and statements of police officials have been recorded with four witnesses already examined and had sought four more weeks to complete the inquiry and submit his report.

This is the second time the Chief Secretary and DGP have moved the High Court seeking to quash the BRICS food scam proceedings. A bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice Gautam Patel and Justice Nutan Sardessai on 21st August last year while declining to quash the proceedings had asked the GHRC to make it clear whether it recommends an inquiry or investigation and to also specify the parameters.

Adv. Aires Rodrigues in his complaint to the GHRC on 14th October 2016 had submitted that the contract for a whopping Rs 51, 60,000 was given to Amonkar Classic Caterers for supply of food to police personnel posted on duty for the BRICS summit but that the contract was sub-let to a road side contractor who clandestinely prepared the food in an open space.

Pointing out that road side laborers were engaged for cooking the substandard food in most unhygienic condition with water stored in open plastic barrels and used for cooking, Adv. Rodrigues in his complaint further submitted that with thick bushes and grass around insects and cockroaches found their way into the food served to the police personnel.

Adv. Rodrigues also stated that despite the GHRC having more than once reminded the Government that police personnel are Human beings and should so be treated, the authorities had failed to make any proper arrangements including food, water and toilet facilities for the police personnel.

Adv. Rodrigues further stated that while the Government had gone overboard in making all arrangements for the visiting dignitaries, it had conveniently neglected to cater to the basic fundamental and human rights of its own police personnel.

Stating that the authorities had lost sight that police personnel too have a personal life, Adv. Rodrigues pointed out that the Government cannot be allowed to be a cause for ruining their health and lives. The GHRC by an order on 18th October 2016 directed that no payments should be released to the Caterer pending inquiry into the entire episode.

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