The Leader of the Opposition in Goa Assembly, Chandrakant Kavlekar, and his wife have been booked by the Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, a development the Congress termed as "politically motivated". The agency has valued the "disproportionate assets" at over Rs 4.78 crore excluding the "unexplained amount" of Rs 5.50 crore. The ACB, which has been probing the matter since 2012, registered the FIR against the Congress leader and his wife Savitri under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act last evening. When contacted, Kavlekar said he had done nothing wrong and was ready for an inquiry by the ACB or any other agency. He alleged that it was a tactic by the government to "demoralise" the opposition. A senior ACB official said the possibility of custodial interrogation of Kavlekar could not be ruled out. "Kavlekar has still not been able to satisfy the investigating agencies about the additional source of income to the tune of Rs 5 crore," Superintendent of Police (ACB) Bosco George told reporters here. If he fails to give a satisfactory reply, we might conduct custodial interrogation, he said. George said the FIR also names his wife Savitri as a co-accused as she is the director in his company. "As of now the disproportionate assets have been valued at over Rs 4.78 crore excluding the unexplained amount of Rs 5.50 crore," George said. He said Kavlekar's wife might also be summoned for questioning by the ACB as a part of the investigation. The couple has been booked under Section 13 (2) (any public servant who commits criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Kavlekar was chairman of Goa Industrial Corporation from 2005-2012, George said, adding, assets amassed during this period are under scanner. During the investigation, Kavlekar was questioned but "he had not been able to give satisfactory replies because of which we had to register the case", the officer said. The Kavlekars had filed their assets as Rs 1 crore each before the institution of Lokayukta. Elected representatives are bound to file the details of their assets with the Lokayukta. George said it took time for the police to file the FIR as some of his properties are in Kerala and the related documents are in Malayalam, which needed to be translated. He said the searches are going on at Kavlekar's residences and offices of his companies. George claimed the legislator owns four companies, including a firm that takes up civil works contracts. Reacting to the development, Kavlekar said, "I am not on the wrong side. I am ready for an inquiry. The state government is trying its best to demoralise the opposition through such tactics," he alleged. Kavlekar, currently outside Goa, told PTI he had already informed Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar about his visit outside the state. "I will reach Goa either tonight or tomorrow," he said. The Congress leader said he would not seek the pre-arrest bail. "There is no question of moving for an anticipatory bail.
I have cooperated with the police in the past and will do so now as well," he said. Kavlekar is a third time member of the Goa Assembly. He currently represents the Quepem constituency. He was the chairman of the state-run Goa Industrial Development Corporation when his party was in power. In 2012, the Goa Police had filed a case against Kavlekar under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, taking cognisance of media reports alleging his involvement in illegal allotment of plots. The investigations had revealed that Kavlekar owned a plantation worth Rs 32.5 crore in Kerala, officials claimed. Meanwhile, state Congress unit president Shantaram Naik said the case registered against the Kavlekars and the searches are "malicious and politically motivated". "The raids and the case against him arepolitically motivated and malicious. The searches are carried out with an ulterior motive of compelling Congress MLAs to join the BJP under duress," Naik told reporters here. He said the raids are being conducted despite Kavlekar cooperating with the agencies in the past. "Considering the background of the formation of the present government, the Congress suspects that there is some maliciousand ulterior motive behind the raid. It is learnt that some MLAs of Congress were threatened with a probe if they don't toe the line of the BJP," Naik alleged.
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