The Goa Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) charged on Monday that Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel had pressurized Chief Minister Digambar Kamat to increase the number of casinos in Goa from seven to nine and has demanded a vigilance inquiry.
Leader of Opposition in the Goa assembly Manohar Parrikar said: "I am demanding a vigilance enquiry into the matter. Ahmed Patel has called to pressurize the chief minister into introducing two more casinos in Goa. There is large scale corruption. If the government does not initiate a vigilance enquiry, I will be forced to file a criminal complaint."
Asked if he had any evidence to back the claim, Parrikar said he would not like to part with the evidence just yet. "A vigilance enquiry will back my claim. To confirm Patel's involvement, all that needs to be done is to check the phone records of the chief minister as well as the home minister around the time the cabinet decided to introduce two more offshore casinos in the last week of February."
Alleging large-scale corruption in the issuing of licences and clearances to the seven offshore casinos, Parrikar said that the office of the chief minister, Home Minister Ravi Naik and former Goa chief secretary were involved in the scam.
The six off shore casino vessels anchored in the Mandovi river have been in the news after the BJP accused ministers in the Congress-led alliance government of taking bribes for issuing licences.
While seven licences have been issued in all, one offshore casino is not operational yet.
Parrikar has also accused the chief minister's office and the former chief secretary JP Singh of influencing senior customs officials, forcing them to release a casino vessel which was being probed for duty evasion.