‘BJP favoured offshore casino lobby in Goa’

Panaji, June 22 (Inditop.com) After training its guns on the Congress-led coalition in Goa for allowing both offshore and onshore casinos to run amok, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) now finds itself in the crosshair of an onshore casino operator.

Update Recreation and Gaming Private Ltd (URGPL), a firm which operates mechanised casinos in several five-star resorts in Goa, has accused leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar of pandering to the offshore casino lobby during his tenure as chief minister.

“Manohar Parrikar asserts that casinos have ruined families in Goa. He may be reminded that it was during his tenure as chief minister that licence to offshore casino Caravela was issued,” URGPL general manager Gerard Fernandes said in a statement Sunday.

URGPL, which was in the news for filing a complaint against Tourism Minister Francisco alias Mickky Pacheco for assault and non-payment of dues owed to the casino, said while the Parrikar government was in power in 2001, the BJP government had also bent backwards to make the offshore casino industry feel at home.

“The Goa Public Gambling Act 1976, was amended on Aug 16, 2001 to make it wider and more inclusive,” Fernandes said.

The BJP over the last six months has led the moral charge against the Congress-led alliance government in the state and has promised to launch a state-wide agitation against the casino industry soon.

“We do not want casinos in Goa. It’s as simple as that. We want them out of Goa. Casinos exact a massive social cost,” Parrikar has said.

Chief minister Digambar Kamat, justifying his government’s pro-offshore casino policy, has said that revenue earned from the six offshore casinos would be used to fund the social sector.