Even as Goa’s Education Minister Babush Monserrate is scheduled to depose before the Customs officials today (8th April), the Bharatiya Janata Party raised the issue at the national level terming it nothing but a havala racket and accused the Goa minister of being involved in smuggling activities and asked for a CBI probe into the matter.
BJP Spokesperson Prakash Javadekar briefing media persons in the national capital accompanied by Goa’s Lok Sabha member Shripad Naik demanded the immediate dismissal of Babush Monserrate as he was arrested under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
Taking a dig at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assurance to act decisively against those involved in wrongdoings, he said the union government had indeed acted very fast to release the minister after he was detained by Customs authorities at Mumbai last Saturday for carrying currency on a foreign trip far beyond the permitted limits
Javadekar alleged that pressure was mounted on the Customs officials from the Finance Ministry to release the minister as the Congress were on a mission cover up to shield its minister from Goa.
Referring to Babush Monserrate claim to have taken currency with his in the past during his travels abroad, the BJP asked for a CBI probe into how he managed to take currency beyond the permitted limits and also the source of these monies.
Javadekar also wondered how Babush’s son Rohit and a colleague were permitted to continue with their journey abroad without checking their baggage after excess currency was found in his baggage and further pointed out that the External Affairs Ministry had not cleared the Goa minister’s foreign trip.
Interestingly, though the BJP is crying foul over Babush’s release, the fact remains that it was the same BJP led NDA government that amended the FERA to change the offence of carrying excess currency a civil offence instead of a criminal one.