CHIEF MONSTERS WANT MORE

IN CAHOOTS: Luzinho Faleiro, in his greed for power, has allegedly conspired with Churchil Alemao to destroy the Congress. Through an understanding. the two enemies-turned-friends have agreed to support each other to return to power in the Navelim and Benaulim constituencies

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Luizinho Faleiro, who is among the monsters I unwittingly created during the Konkani agitation, is conspiring with Churchill Alemao to destroy the Congress and help the Bharatiya Janata Party return to power

By Rajan Narayan

PRESIDENT of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Luizinho Faleiro, who was insisting that he had retired from politics, has obviously not lost his lust for power and money.

He had repeatedly stated that it was time for grandfathers like him to retire and make way for youngsters but is not willing to do so himself and has announced that he will contest from Navelim. Of course Faleiro claims he is doing it under pressure from his supporters. He has previously served as chief minister in 1998 and 1999 but could not complete his term and is perhaps anxious to do so.

WHITE PAPER

IN THE 90s, Manohar Parrikar levied corruption charges against Dabolim MLA Mauvin Godinho. Soon after getting the chief minister’s post for the first time in October 2000, he issued a white paper alleging that Faleiro – who controlled the Industries ministry between 1996 and 2000 – was primarily responsible for the huge losses incurred by the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) which was under the ministry’s control. He also accused Faleiro of extending dubious advances to the extent of `218 crores.

Parrikar had alleged that the EDC suffered because of Faleiro’s illegal decisions as Industries minister. He specifically accused him of extending advances of `350 crore in violation of the rules of financial prudence, including `97 crore of the notorious corporate loans.

FALEIRO’S REIGN

DURING Faleiro’s tenure as Industries minister between 1995-2000, large numbers of loans were issued to Delhi businesses to set up steel rolling mills. They were also extended rebates by the then Power minister Mauvin Godinho. Most of these units did not repay even the interest on the capital amount. In a sleight of hand, Faleiro is alleged to have come up with the idea of corporate loans whereby defaulting units were given further loans to repay the interest arrears.

This led to a huge increase in the EDC’s non-performing assets. Agitated refinance agencies like IDBI downgraded its rating, reducing its eligibility to finance projects to a limit of `8 crores with a re-finance limit of `1.5 crores per project.

Parrikar had claimed the loans had been granted by Faleiro to 22 additional projects to the extent of `50.69 crores defying then chief minister Pratap Singh Rane’s instructions. This is similar to the charge against Godinho, Parrikar pointed out, that Faleiro had attended 10 EDC board meetings during which 88 projects valued at `107.5 crores were approved through loan extensions even though they did not meet the viability criteria.

Parrikar further pointed out that of these projects, 30 with an outstanding of `117.7 crores (`46.7 crores principle and `71 crore interest) had become non-performing assets which had to be written off, causing huge losses to the EDC.

The figures of loan disbursal by the EDC between 1995, 1996 and 2000 seem to confirm Parrikar’s allegations. There was a big spurt in the amount of advances and loans made by the EDC during Faleiro’s tenure as Industries minister.

The amount of loans sanctioned in 1995-1996 at `6,010 lakhs was almost double the amount of `3,656 lakhs sanctioned in the previous year 1995-1996. In 1996, the loans sanctioned increased to `7,884 lakhs, soaring up to `12,688 lakhs in 1997-1998. In 1998-99 the figure was `5,848 lakhs and `7,208 lakhs in 1999-2000. When Parrikar became chief minister, the loans sanctioned witnessed a sharp drop to `2,614 lakhs in 2000-01. Similarly, the amounts disbursed increased from `2,881 lakhs in 1995-96 to `8,326 in 1997-98.

There have been other charges against monster-in-chief Luizinho Faleiro, who is ruining the Congress by dividing the party on communal lines in collusion with Defence minister Manohar Parrikar. Faleiro has doomed the Congress by refusing to enter into an alliance with democratic, secular forces and starting a campaign against former chief minister Digambar Kamat.

VERNA ESTATE

FALEIRO was Industries minister when the Verna Industrial Estate was launched. He used this confidential information to buy land which he subsequently sold to private parties at huge premiums. He even boasted to me that he had speculated on the land and made large amounts of money with loans he had taken from the EDC.

Kesarval Garden Retreat wedding venue was one of the properties allegedly created out of his manipulation and misuse of power. There were also charges pending against him of having acquired an island in Zugmobor and carrying out construction in violation of Coastal Regulatory Zone rules.

Faleiro has made enough money and should take his family’s advice and retire from active politics as he had promised to do. His decision to contest elections would seem to indicate that he is not interested in stepping aside in favour of new faces as he had promised.

The division in the Congress between the Faleiro faction and the Rane and Digambar factions will deprive the Goan voter – particularly the secular voter – of a viable choice in this year’s elections. The best option for the Congress would be to align with parties like Goa Forward and independents like Rohan Khaunte rather than seek the support of mercenaries like Babush Monserrate.

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