Goa’s Revenue Minister Jose Philip D’Souza found himself in the dock on Wednesday with a complaint lodged against him for land grabbing with the Vigilance Department and the Mormugao Municipal Council too demanding a vigilance enquiry into the matter.
Activist Ketan Govekar in his complaint to the Vigilance Department has accused Jose Philip of misusing his ministerial position to grab land for his family members and further alleged that area coming within Coastal Regulation Zone, has been deliberately shown as not coming within it in order to avoid demolition of structures therein.
Besides Jose Philip, the complaint also names his brothers Pascoal, Clemente and Jose Niclau along with the Chief Officer of the Mormugao Municipal Council.
Meanwhile, the Mormugao Municipal Council, at an emergency meeting held on Wednesday unanimously resolved to ask for a vigilance probe in the alleged land grab by the minister at Khariwado and further demanded that the minister and his immediate family members’ assets be checked particularly after he became the revenue minister of the State.
Former MMC chairperson Carlos Almeida also moved a disqualification motion against Jose Philip’s brother Pascoal and wife Nanny on grounds of misconduct in discharging their duties as councilors.
Most of the members opined that Jose Philip had misused his ministerial position to grab municipal land at Khariwado for his family.
As per the records of the Directorate of Settlement and Land Records, around 102 square metres of municipal property is in the possession of Jose Philip and his brothers Pascoal, Clemente and Jose Niclau.
Even though the councilors demanded that the council lodge a complaint with the police over the matter, the Chief Officer refused to do so, arguing that he would have to seek legal opinion first.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded that Jose Philip be dropped from the cabinet over the matter. The demand was made by BJP’s spokesperson Rajendra Arlekar who incidentally lost the last Assembly elections to Jose Philip.