GoaChronicle.com speaks exclusively to Floyd Coutinho currently facing allegations in the police-criminal car racket nexus probe ordered by the Union Home Ministry and conducted by the State Home Ministry which is based on a complaint of RTI activist…
GC: RTI Activist Jowet D’Souza alleges in his complaint to the Union Home Ministry that amongst others you are involved in the police-criminal car racket nexus and also alleges that you have links with anti-national elements?
FC: I am aware that the RTI activist has been pursuing this matter with the State Home Department and has written several complaint letters to the authorities. But I would like to state on record that in the swords case where I was falsely implicated, I have been discharged by the JMFC. Even in his personal complaint to the Colva Station when his car was reposed by ICICI Bank, I do not feature in the complaint. So I am not sure, how I can be termed as a criminal and more importantly someone with terror links.
GC: The Union Home Ministry has asked the State Home Department to probe the allegations. Could not the fact that there might be truth to allegations be the reasons for the probe?
FC: I am not aware that the Union Home Ministry has asked the State Home Department to conduct a probe. But, I reiterate that I do not have any association with people with terrors links, directly or indirectly. And I am ready to face any probe of this kind, to clear these baseless allegations made against me.
GC: Allegations have been made that some police officers have been a patrons in your second hand car business, which is why most cases against you do not reach a logical conclusion?
FC: I have been a secret police informer for many years. And I have made and received phone calls from police officers. Some officers that RTI Activist has been talking about also happen to come from my village in Cuncolim, so I do have a friendly and cordial relationship with them. I do not think that is a sin. But on the allegations stating that police officers have put money into my business, that is completely untrue. And I would like the RTI Activist to prove these allegations and not just make them without proving it.
GC: GoaChronicle.com has spoken to some people who were present with you during the torching of the Innova Vehicle (involved in the swords case). We were told that the Innova was an old vehicle that was burnt, but the original vehicle is sold?
FC: Let me clarify one thing. I had filed a police complaint stating that I had left my vehicle due to reasons of a technical failure at Cuncolim-Melawaddo. But when I went later the following day in the afternoon at 12.30 , it was not there. So I went to the Cuncolim Police Station and there I found my vehicle in a fully burnt condition.
GC: Isn’t that precisely what the RTI Activist is alleging that you get away because of closeness to the police, in the case of Innova burning its Sandesh Chodankar and even your former associates allege the same?
FC: Today allegations can be made against anyone including the RTI Activist (who too was discharged from the court on a particular case, a case I do not want to raise because they were allegations and he was discharged) does that make him a criminal. Or for that matter my involvement in the swords case has been proved negative and JMFC has discharged me, does that still make me a criminal.
I do not know who are my associates that GC has spoken too, but, yet again all these allegations need to be proved to the competent authorities.
GC: The RTI activist also alleges that besides the three cases you claim to have against you in the state, there exist several cases outside of Goa as well?
FC: I have said that as of now there only three cases that have been put on me. In the swords case the JMFC has discharged me. There is case of the RTI activist in the Session Court (about my alleged involvement in the case of his car being reposed by the bank and forgery of documents). But here to Directorate of Forensic Sciences state that I am not involved in any forgery. And there is another case filed by an NGO. I do not have any other cases filed against me in the state or outside of Goa.
GC: The RTI activist also alleges that you have used political pressure to get the initial Investigation Officer (IO) Naviti to move out of the Home Department probe?
FC: If I was truly influential don’t you think, I would use my closeness to my alleged political Godfathers to scuttle the probe in entirety rather than have an IO changed. Like I said, I am open to any probe from any authority because I have nothing to hide or be afraid, since I have not committed any crime.
GC: But is not the business that you are into used cars, known to have certain shady alliances?
FC: I had run a successful used car business. Yes, there can be a certain grey areas in the business, wherein to get business you develop certain business relationships with associates from places where you procure the cars. But that does not mean I am a criminal. And it is a part of the business where in order to get a better deal to beat the competition you take care of certain business associates. However, now I am not into the car business, because of such allegations people do not want to associate with my business.
GC: Are you saying that these allegations have affected your business?
FC: Yes they have. I have been called a criminal by the RTI Activist and I reserve my right to file a defamation case against him after my cases have been cleared by the courts.