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Taking accusations further, Girish Chodankar (cover image), National Secretary, Goa Congress has alleged that the BJP-led state government is involved in an ₹25 crores kickback deal for granting a year’s extension to the offshore casinos, which has resulted in a further ₹5,000 crores loss to the state exchequer. He also said that the deal involved the granting of a fifth casino license, besides plans for four more new casinos, which Chodankar claims will fund the BJP for the coming 2016 elections.
The government had set March 2016 as the deadline for shifting of the casinos and at the last minute had extended this by another year. The extension had immediate effect with shares of Delta Corporation increasing by 7.34% to end at ₹83 on the BSE. Delta Corp is expected to benefit from the move, establishing itself as a leader in the gaming industry, stated leading brokerage houses.
There have been widespread objections towards the casinos from locals, social organizations and opposition parties, who believe they corrupt and destroy local youth and their families.
According to the article in the Goa News, Chodankar came out strongly in a candid talk to the press, even speaking against his own party. He went on to make several accusations about the casinos and politicians involved.
Chodankar claimed that the casino operators were disclosing only 25% of their actual entries, which led to revenue losses from fees, entertainment tax and VAT. He demanded why the government did not appoint revenue officers to monitor the casinos, just as excise inspectors at distilleries and ticket collectors for ferry boats.
The Congress politician also pointed out that the reduction of entry fees from ₹2,000 to ₹500 has further reduced revenues.
Moving on to point out illegal activities at casinos, Chodankar stated that the properties of losing gamblers were seized by the operators. He revealed that each casino had a legal team, which immediately moved to attach properties of those who lose huge amounts of money in live games. The politicians, he said were aware of this looting and turned a blind eye to the proceedings.
Chodankar also refuted the claim that casinos generate local employment and said that only 15% natives worked at these places, and casinos had in fact destroyed hundreds of Goan families.
Chodankar recalled that the BJP had won the 2012 elections on the promise that casinos would be removed and reneged on this, once in power, even as he admitted that the evil had been brought in by his own Congress party.
Without taking names, he also took potshots at some politicians objecting to casinos today and remarked that maybe they were protesting in the hope of getting a share of the ₹25 crores.
“I am sure some of them are genuine and hoped that those opposing will maintain consistency in opposing casino and will not get silenced,” he told the press.