GC: There is a lot of speculation about your appointment as Congress spokesperson in Goa; especially of the fact that your have not been officially appointed by AICC?
ST: Around August 28, 2012, GPCC president Subash Shirodkar had told me that I am to be appointed as a Congress spokesperson for Goa. He has also handed me a official letter on a GPCC letterhead stating my appointment.
GC: So how come your appointment locally draws a blank with both the Central Observers Jagmeet Singh Brar and Sudhakar Reddy. At least they should have known, since all appointments have to be approved by All India Congress Committee (AICC)?
ST: I don’t know the process to any appointments of AICC or GPCC. I was appointed by Subash Shirodkar and I am certain he would have followed all the necessary protocols.
GC: So why did you join the Congress, when previously you attacked the Congress government and its alliance partner MGP?
ST: I never had any intention of joining any political party earlier whether Congress or BJP. In fact I was even asked by the BJP to join them. But I joined Congress because it is a secular party with a vision to work for the common man and BJP is not. Most importantly people from my caste community (Bahujan Samaj) are treated very badly by the BJP leaders.
GC: But isn’t it the same Congress that you alleged being corrupt when they were in power; it is known that you have sided with the then Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar to attack Congress?
ST: I still accuse some of the senior Congress leaders of being corrupt and I have even filed criminal complaints against them. But you cannot undermine a party ideology because of a few corrupt elements. I will not deny that I used to seek assistance from Manohar Parrikar in my activism in exposing the corruption of the Congress; even today I speak with him occasionally. But today I see the Parrikar-government more dangerous for Goa than the Congress. Parrikar has made many promises to the people of Goa but today he chooses not to act on any. In fact scams that he brought to light like Mining, Dabolim Airport, PWD and many more; he will now side with the perpetrators of these scams.
GC: But the main perpetrators of these alleged scams which were brought to light by Parrikar were done by the Congress ministers and MLAs?
ST: I agree that some of the Congress ministers or MLAs were responsible for the large-scale corruption in the state. But why is Parrikar not acting on the evidences that he has or claimed to have against the Congress ministers or MLAs.
GC: What according to you would be the reason behind no action of Parrikar against corrupt Congress leaders?
ST: This government in particular its Chief Minister has got internal settings with some powerful Congress leaders those still as MLAs and those who have lost. Parrikar has all the necessary resources at his disposal to act against corruption, whether Congress leaders or not, he is not acting simple because there are arrangements done between Congress and BJP. In the Congress regime our cases or complaints used to remain pending due to political interference even now it is the same. BJP is no different than Congress, in fact it will be worse and it can be seen clearly; as this government would want to curb the Freedom of Speech of activism and truth. Look at the ban for protests during IFFI is that not undemocratic. The Shah Commission report clearly indicts certain Congress leaders but yet Parrikar refuses to act; since he himself is involved with the illegal mining companies.
GC: So does Digambar Kamat, Pratapsingh Rane, Churchill Alemao or any other minister has a political setting with the CM?
ST: I would not like to take names of any of the political leaders. But it is a fact that Congress and BJP leaders have a setting which is why in the Congress regime no action was taken against political leaders involved in corruption such as Sudin Dhavalikar and in the BJP regime you can also expect that no action will be taken.
GC: But you have cases against former Congress Chief Ministers Pratapsingh Rane and Digambar Kamat. Will you still pursue the cases?
ST: Yes, I will continue to pursue those cases. And I wonder whether Parrikar will also do the same. For a common man with the intent to do good for the people of Goa through RTI activism, it is a hard task since besides the government officials even the judiciary are influenced by the politicians; which is why some cases are in cold storage both at the Congress and BJP time.
GC: Are you alleging that the Judiciary in the state is corrupt and influenced by politicians?
ST: Judiciary in the state especially in the Lower Courts are definitely corrupt and highly influenced by politicians. It does not exist so much in the higher courts. Today cases are pending because the Judges are being taken care of by the corrupt politicans and the common man only hopes in despair.
GC: Our reports indicate that you switch allegiance to parties based on the positioning of the MGP in the government, in particular Sudin Dhavalikar?
ST: That is not true. I have nothing personal against Sudin Dhavalikar. In fact I do converse with him on a regular basis. But my issue with him is purely related to his portfolio which is the Transport Department which reeks with corruption at all levels. The officials working for the RTO or Traffic Police are corrupt and has been continuing with their reign of terrorizing the poor common man for haftas and other favors. This existed in the Congress government; and when he was once again given the Portfolio by the Parrikar-led government, I knew that the BJP-government’s ‘Zero-Corruption’ mantra is a farce. The transport department reeks of corruption and
nothing is done about it.
GC: Sources in BJP and some GPCC members say that you are a Parrikar Informer in the Congress party? And you have been sent to keep a check on Congress as well as MGP through your activism?
ST: I know Parrikar and I continue to interact with him. I will not deny that bit. But I am not an informer for Parrikar or BJP, I am with the Congress but most all with the people of Goa.
GC: You assisted the Job Scam applicants in voicing their agitation against the government; Government inquiry indicates that the appointments were illegal and not keep with set government procedures?
ST: The job applicants are innocent are there in no scam as alleged by the BJP-government. The CM is trying to fool the people it believing that these innocent applicants are guilty of a large-Congress supported scam. His aim is to only victimize these job applicants.
GC: So why have they not gone to court with their issue; if it was genuine?
ST: They are afraid of the Chief Minister and feel he will seek revenge from them thereby ruining the careers. In fact they asked me to take their issue to Court, but I have no locus standi in the issue.