CRICKET SCAM: The riots that followed the fake ticket cricket match in 2001 would have got worse if master blaster Sachin Tendulkar had not been dismissed very early in the game.
BY RAJAN NARAYAN
AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when my life was under threat again following former speaker Dayanand Narvekar being acquitted in the cricket ticket scam case which has been going on from 2001. For a Saturday following the week when the revolt in the Congress seems to have petered out due to opposition from senior BJP leader. For a Saturday following the week when the State government announced a list of 19 other backward classes for reservations in the Panchayat elections scheduled for August 10, 2022. For a Saturday following the week when the interim bail granted to Alt News co-founder Muhammad Zubair was further extended by the Supreme Court.
AND a few stray thought on my life was under threat again following former speaker Dayanand Narvekar being acquitted in the cricket ticket scam case. It may recalled that way back in 1989 I was savagely attacked by hired goons allegedly at the instance of the then speaker Dayanand Narvekar, who was accused of molesting a member of his staff. This same Dayanand Narvekar was also accused of selling almost 10,000 extra tickets for the 1-one day international cricket game between India and Australia played on April 6,l 2001 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda. The capacity of the Fatorda Stadium was 30,000. As against this 10,000 extra tickets were printed by the president of the Goa Cricket Association President Narvekar and other office bearers.
The result was that while holders of genuine tickets could not get entry into the stadium, holders of fake tickets occupied not only the stadium seats but also the VVIP sections. The then chief minister, Manohar Parrikar, was present at the stadium. Instead of ensuring that those who occupied their seats on fake tickets were evicted, he ordered a lathi charge against the fans with genuine tickets left out of the stadium.
The Margao police had filed a charge sheet against Dayanand Narvekar, Vinod Fadte, the treasurer, Chinmay Falari, who got the tickets printed. The GCA president and others were accused of printing and sale of fake tickets, criminal conspiracy and cheating the public. If you have enough political clout and deep pockets you can get a case postponed indefinitely and eventually even get discharged.
The long-dragged on case finally closed with the acquittal of the then GCA president Dayanand Narvekar on Friday, July 8, 2022 — not because he was proven innocent beyond all reasonable doubt but because the special public prosecutor appointed to try the case did not turn up. He was the second special public prosecutor who had withdrawn the case. Nor did the police make any effort to question the witnesses in the case.
During the last hearing of the senior division and judicial magistrate (First Class Court at Margao), it had been ordered that since no steps have been taken by the prosecution to submit evidence the court has no option but to conclude that the evidence of the prosecution stands closed. Special public prosecutor B Borkar had filed a memo along with the letter addressed to the undersecretary, Government of Goa, withdrawing his appearance before the above court. With the special public prosecutor not turning up to conclude the matter, the senior division JMFC had no option but to acquit the accused.
The conclusions are obvious. Neither successive governments since 2001 nor the police were interested for obvious reasons in pursuing and taking forward the case. With Narvekar now being acquitted he can take revenge against me and others who exposed his many sins of omission and commission in public and private life, during my tenure as editor of the Herald for 20 years from 1983 to 2003.
Narvekar is not the only politician who is successfully delayed the announcement of a verdict in a case in which he is the accused. Power Minister Mauvin Godinho still has a case pending against him for over 30 years for power theft. I insist that the police security provided to me after my beating up in 1989 be restored immediately. The SP security will be responsible for any consequences arising from failure to restore my security.
AND a few stray thoughts on the revolt in the Congress which seems to have petered out due to opposition from a senior BJP leader. It is not only the reluctance of the Catholic Congress MLAs to join the BJP that frustrated the attempt to split the Congress. The BJP almost succeeded in getting eight of the 11 elected Congress MLAs to defect to the BJP. The number eight is crucial as it represents 2/3rds of the majority of the Congress legislative party. This is an action replay of what happened after the death of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar on March 17, in 2019 when 11 Congress MLAs of the Congress led by Atanasio Babush Monserrate joined the Congress.
This time around with the exception of Michael and Delilah Lobo the other Catholic MLAs, particularly Carlos Alvares, were not keen on jumping over to the BJP. The revolt against the Congress was actually led by former chief minister, Digambar Kamat, as he felt insulted and wild because he was not made Leader of the Opposition after the last elections in 2021. Instead, the new Goa Congress President Amit Palekar appointed the come lately entrant to the Congress party Michael Lobo as president of the Congress Legislative Party on grounds that he had managed to win four of the six seats for the Congress in Bardez.
Michael Lobo who initially was keen on switching back to the BJP had second thoughts after Vishwajit Rane, the new Town & Country minister, Vishwajit Rane, launched a savage attack against him. Junior Rane does not want any competition from Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat. He has made good use of his prized Town & Country Planning portfolio to expose Michael Lobo’s alleged land frauds. On Tuesday, July 12 Vishwajit Rane revealed in the Legislative Assembly that Michael Lobo had illegally converted 27,000 hectares of mangroves, cultivated land, orchards and hilly slopes in Calangute, Candolim and Arpora into settlements. In the context of this allegations of converting 3.5 lakh square meters of eco-sensitive land as chairman of the Planning & Development Authority it has become impossible for the BJP to accept Michael Lobo.
Vishwajit Rane is also reported to have the blessings of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for blocking the entry of Digambar Kamat into the BJP. This is because though the Central high command is keen on taking Digambar Kamat, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is afraid that he will be replaced as chief minister by a far more seasoned and experienced Digambar Kamat.
Which is why the speaker of the Legislative Assembly Ramesh Tawalkar, while admitting the disqualification petition against Digambar and Michael Lobo, ruled that the matter would be discussed after the conclusion of the assembly session. So perhaps this will ensure that there is no further revolt within the Congress in the near future.
AND a few stray thoughts on the State government announcing a list of 19 other backward classes for reservations in the Panchayat elections scheduled for August 10, 2022. On the insistence of the Bhandari Samaj leaders the State government notified 19 communities as other backward classes. As pointed out earlier, many economically and politically forward communities all over the country have been demanding reservations for jobs and admission to professional colleges. Most of these communities which were either from the warrior class like the Marathas and the Jats,l discovered that there were not enough job opportunities in agriculture. With mechanization in agriculture generation next in this communities want to join their urban brothers and sisters as doctors and engineers and particularly information technology professionals.
In Goa, the Bhandari Samaj is the largest group among the other backward classes forming almost 60% of the Hindu population. Traditionally, the Bhandari Samaj people have been traders, though many of them have become doctors and engineers on their own merit. Moreover the Bhandaris are politically the most influential group. Ravi Naik, former Congress chief minister and present water resources minister in the BJP is part of the Bhandari Samaj. Even more importantly Shripad Naik, the very senior leader and Union Minister of State for Tourism, is also from the Bhandari Samaj.
Dramatizing the new formed power of the Bhandari Samaj of the BJP, Brahmeswara Nanda Swami of the Kundaim Math went on a sponsored tour of Europe, recently. Though the State government has included the Bhandari Samaj as part of the other backward classes, along with other 18 communities, this is only for reservation of seats for the Panchayat election coming up on August 10.
The primary demand of the OBCs for reservations in admission to professional colleges and for government jobs has yet to be granted. Part of the problem is that the Supreme Court has ruled that the total of reservations in any State cannot exceed 50%. Already there are reservation for women and schedule castes and tribes not only for the Panchayat elections, but even for recruitment to professional colleges and for government jobs. Some of the other important communities included in the OBC list are Kumbhar, Teli, Shimpi, Christian Mahar, Kaliakar (Blacksmith/tinsmith), Pagui/Gabit, Christian Barbar, Satarkar, Bhandari Naik, Dhobi/Rajak/Madval,Nhavi/Navi/Nabhik/Napit, Mahalo, Koli/Kharvi, Nathjogi, Gosavi, Dhangar, Vishwakarma/Chari/Mesta. Thakker, Komarpant and Render.
Catholic members from this communities have also been extended the reservation granted to their Hindu counterparts. We do not know why the Muslim counterparts from these communities have never been extended facilities granted to the Hindus and the Catholics. The Muslims have to be satisfied with Bakrid-eid greetings from the now political couple in Goa of Vishwajit and Divya Rane. The other great patrons of the minority Muslim community, which has become very important vote bank, is Digambar Kamat, who is the “Baba” of Muslim-dominated Moti Dongor; the same applies to Babush Monserrate with his long cultivated Muslim vote banks in Taleigao and Panaji, as also the Nepali and other migrant Hindu workers.
Many senior leaders of both the BJP and Congress rely on migrant vote banks. It was the first Chief Minister of Goa Dayanand Bandodkar who brought all the non-Saraswat community together under the umbrella of the Bahujan Samaj, which includes all the 19 communities which have been granted reservations for the coming Panchayat elections. In the process, the Saraswat community which accounts for only 2% of the Goan population has been completely marginalized. Goa is the only state in the country where not just politics but also industry is dominated by the Brahmin community both Hindu and converted Brahmins.
AND a last stray thoughts on the interim bail granted to Muhammad Zubair, Alt News co-founder, which was further extended by the Supreme Court. Muhmmad Zubair is the co-founder of the fact-checking agency of Alt News. Cases have been filed against him in several states in country for his protest against statements by BJP favorite Nupur Sharma and the Times Now anchor on Prophet Muhammad.
In the process of delivering the judgment the SC has made it clear that when there is a delay in the investigation or in the trial of the accused, the courts should be liberal in granting bail. However, this does not seem to apply to the accused from Muslim community and those so called “seditionists” and “anti-nationalists” who are spending years in jail merely on allegations as in the case of participation in the Bhima-Koregaon riots near Pune in 2018.
Presumably, in Maharashtra a government dominated by Marathas, is not willing to tolerate the ideas of the Mahar, a very low class, celebrating their victory against the Marathas in a battle fought when the British were ruling the country.