BJP on offshore casino industry payroll: Congress

Panaji, May 28 (IANS) The Congress Tuesday accused Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar of cozying up to the offshore casino lobby, particularly to the Delta Corporation Ltd (DCL) chief Jaydev Mody, whose new casino vessel M.V. Horseshoe has triggered controversy.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Panaji, state Congress spokesperson Sudip Tamhankar said the BJP-led coalition government was breaking the law by allowing the Florida-built casino vessel to be anchored in the Mandovi river off Panaji, without requisite permissions.

“The M.V. Horseshoe has no permission from the captain of ports department to be parked in the Mandovi river. Horsheshoe has been brought to replace an existing casino, which is again illegal. Casino licences are not transferable,” Tamhankar said.

The M.V. Horseshoe is built by Bae Systems South East Florida and carries the Saint Kitts and Nevis flag. Mody, in an earlier media interview, had said that the vessel has been brought to Goa to replace DCL’s casino Caravela, one of the two floating casinos it operates here.

The Congress claims that licences given by the state home ministry to casinos are specific to the vessel on which they are located and that the licences are not transferable as per the Goa Public Gambling Act.

It further accused Parrikar, who in his earlier role as opposition leader had promised to drive offshore casinos out of the Mandovi river, of “conspiring with the offshore casino industry” and its promoters.

“After opposing casinos for years, the BJP is now on the payroll of the casino industry,” Tamhankar said.

“We will expose the links which Parrikar has with Mody, if the new casino boat is allowed permission,” Tamhankar said.

Speaking to reporters last week, Mody had claimed that DCL had “got permission to get the vessel in river Mandovi”.

Goa has five offshore casinos in operation, apart from over a dozen onshore casinos located in the various five-star hotels dotting the coastal fringe of the beach state.

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