Arvind Kejriwal takes aim at Goa Casinos ahead of the Elections
On 8 January, Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, indulged in a new rant, accusing several Political Leaders from Congress and BJP for sheltering the Goa Casinos. The IITian said that the casinos owe the state treasury a total of INR 4,000 crores. He even mentioned the name of defence minister Manohar Parrikar as a part of this tax racquet. As per figures, Goa Casinos contributed INR 135 crores to the state revenue in 2013.
Justifying his allegations, the Aam Aadmi Party leader pointed out, “The actual tax collection from the casino industry in Goa should be Rs 4,000 crore. How much does the Goa government get in from the casinos? Rs 200 crore. If government ministers and officers are cheating the government treasury of Rs 4,000 Crore, can you imagine how much money they are pocketing?”
Goa is one of only three states permitted to have casinos, the other two being Daman and Sikkim. Our very own substitute for Las Vegas or Reno, Indians usually visit Goa, throughout the year to try their luck at the casinos. Out of the 10 casinos in Goa, six are land based while the rest are offshore ones operating on the Mandovi River, off Panaji. In the 2012-13 fiscal, Goa Casinos had contributed a healthy INR 135.45 crores to the state revenue.
Kejriwal was addressing a public meeting in the town of Mapusa when he launched his recent onslaught, he threw up questions in the air, saying, “Last time, in 2012, Parrikar had said when the BJP comes to power; all casinos will be done away with. Why did he forget this when he came to power? He must have got a share of the casino revenue spoils. How much money did the BJP get, how much money did the Congress and officials get from the casino industry.”
He promised to take action against the exploitation of women in those casinos if AAP comes into power. “Women are raped, women are exploited, prostitution, gambling and every kind of crime occurs in these casinos. Goans are tired of casinos. BJP cheated Goans because it is corrupt, Congress is also corrupt. Only an honest party can stop casinos,” he said.
With elections coming up, expect the casinos to play a role in all election mandates. Kejriwal said that his party, unlike others was immune to the charms of this casino cartel. So, we should wait and see what happens of these casinos when a winner of the elections is declared. Will they be vanquished or will they simply find new pockets to warm and continue to thrive in Panjim.
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