Current Affairs

Sardesai alleges corruption in ESG

Staying true his commitment to be focused on constructive opposition to the current government and former government, Independent Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai charged the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is also Chairman of the Entertainment Society of Goa, of turning a blind eye to the massive corruption in the ESG and the organisation of IFFI 2012.

He pointed out that this year’s IFFI will showcase yet another example of ‘continuity in governance’ being accompanied by ‘continuity in corruption’. He wondered whether Parrikar’s slogan of “zero tolerance to corruption” has undergone a ‘parivartan’ to “zero opposition to corruption”, as is being felt by the people of Goa today.

Sardesai said that irregularities in the ESG, which is a hotbed of corruption, start right from the top. The CEO Manoj Srivastava is mired in controversy beginning from his appointment in 2008 which was then done without inviting any applications or conducting any interviews. In August 2012, the Federation of Film Fraternity of Goa had complained to Parrikar that the website of BNA Germany, “an agency in the domain of Bollywood entertainment”, mentioned the name of Manoj Srivastava as Deputy Managing Director as well as in charge of marketing and advertisements. This is in total violation of guidelines applicable to government officials. But instead of any action being taken against him, the contents of the letter were leaked to him and the website has now deleted the two lines which contained his name.

In addition, many other irregularities and violations have been attributed to Srivastava. Purchase of a cellphone costing much more than what is authorized, reimbursement of mobile bills far in excess of the amounts permissible, accident to vehicle belonging to ESG at 3 a.m. on 30.11.09 at Sangolda while Srivastava was driving, false information regarding the accident in answer to a LAQ by Milind Naik (now Power Minister, then an Opposition MLA), his many foreign trips are just a few of the many contentious issues that have surfaced during Srivastava’s tenure.

But Parrikar, who, as Leader of the Opposition exposed the scams of the ESG in the Assembly, himself granted an extension of six months to Srivastava after becoming CM. Sardesai claimed that Srivastava seems to hold sway over politicians of both Congress and BJP and that he is dictating terms to them, for reasons best known to themselves.

Considering that he was not bothered about non-payment of his salary for more than 2 years after joining as CEO, his entire tenure should be investigated and all financial decisions in which he was involved should be scanned thoroughly.

Sardesai said that the people of Goa expected a lot from the new Vice Chairman of the ESG, Vishnu Wagh, as he himself is an artiste and literary figure, but the ESG virus seems to have infected him too. His contradictory statements point to a nexus between the ESG and certain vested interests from outside Goa.

While Wagh has said that that 80 per cent of all performances during IFFI 2012 will be by Goan artistes, he has also been quoted in the media of 28.9.12 as stating that some of his friends in Mumbai have been told to conceptualise and produce programmes based on 100 years of Indian Cinema. Wagh should clarify whether these deals had been fixed well before advertisements for these programmes were issued and whether the 80 per cent is a percentage of payments, number of programmes or any other criterion.

Sardesai also pointed out that the advertisements inviting applications from Goan artistes were issued on 10.11.12, a Saturday, with a submission deadline of 14.11.12, a Wednesday, the intervening period having only two working days. This shows that either the ESG did not want Goan artistes to apply or that ‘setting’ was done so that only blue-eyed boys of the establishment would reap the benefits.

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