Goa babus want CM to order colleague’s release

Panaji, Jan 29 (IANS) The civil services officers’ body in Goa Wednesday requested Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to order the release of a bureaucrat arrested over a building collapse in which 31 people were killed earlier this month.

The Association of Goa Civil Service Officers’ has accused the government of harassing and needlessly arresting Prashant Shirodkar, the chief officer of a municipal council, in whose jurisdiction the five-storey building was being constructed.
“We believe that Shirodkar, who was the deputy collector and sub-divisional officer, and held the additional charge of the chief officer of Canacona Municipal Council, would have cooperated with police or any government agency,” the statement issued by Goa Civil Service Officer’s Levinson Martins said.
Martins, a senior bureaucrat, has claimed that the arrest had caused “immense mental, physical and financial strain” on the officer and has urgently requested his release.
“The association takes objection to the manner in which the involvement of Shirodkar has been handled by police. The question is whether there was any need for his arrest. Every suitable action could have been taken against him without the need to arrest the officer,” the statement read.
The opposition has accused the Goa government of colluding with the Navi Mumbai-based promoters of the complex where the building was located.
Both the Congress and the NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) have claimed the project was granted sanction in exchange of two apartments for Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar.
While the latter has admitted to owning two apartments, he has rejected allegations of shielding the accused.
“The flats have been bought with my hard owned money,” Tawadkar said.
The Goa government has initiated a three-member committee headed by a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer to probe the collapse which killed 31 people, mostly labourers.
According to Parrikar, prima facie inspection suggested that the under-construction structure was being built flouting several construction norms.
While the local partner in the real estate firm Vishwas Dessai was arrested after much delay, two other promoters Parkash Singh Birring and Jugdeep Sehgal are still missing.