Goa speaker threatens to sue activist, media

Panaji, Feb 3:

Goa legislative assembly Speaker Rajendra Arlekar Monday threatened to sue the media and an activist who accused him of having disproportionate assets and committing irregularities in purchasing property, even as anti-corruption officials quizzed him as part of a preliminary probe.

Addressing a press conference here, Arlekar said that all the allegations levelled against him were “baseless and unfounded”.

According to a complaint filed by local lawyer activist Aires Rodrigues, the Bharatiya Janata Party legislator had bought a 500-sq-metre plot worth Rs.72 lakh from a Delhi-based journalist.

The sale deed, Rodrigues says, does not even mention the mode of payment Arlekar adopted to purchase the plot

The complainant also said that the money used to buy the plot was disproportionate to Arlekar’s declared income, which is around Rs.2.76 lakh annually as per the details in the affidavit filed by him ahead of the 2012 assembly polls.

Refuting the allegations, Arlekar said that the activist never approached him for clarifications, but also added that he had partly paid for the plot through a banker’s cheque as well as from his wife’s savings.

Arlekar also said that Rodrigues had relied on his pre-poll affidavit filed in 2010-11 for details of his income and also added that his income had since increased because of his appointment as the assembly speaker as well as his own business prospering.

Arlekar’s clarification came minutes after Anti Corruption Bureau officials visited his office as part of a preliminary probe into Rodrigues’ complaint.

Police sources said that Arlekar was asked to produce documents related to the land deal. The assembly speaker, sources added, was also asked to furnish details of his tax returns as well as his income details for the last five years.

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