Detained Goa min released after phone call: BJP

Goa`s opposition BJP Wednesday alleged that state Minister Atanasio Monserrate, who was detained last week at Mumbai airport for allegedly carrying unaccounted money, was left off after a call from Union FM`s office.

Panaji: The Goa assembly was again adjourned Wednesday over allegations by the BJP that a minister, detained by Mumbai customs for allegedly carrying crores of rupees worth of foreign exchange, was let off after a call from the office of union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Education Minister Atanasio alias Babush Monserrate was detained by Mumbai airport customs last week.

The Goa Assembly was disrupted twice for the second day in a row over the issue forcing Speaker Pratapsing Rane to adjourn the house till Thursday.

Members of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party were insisting on discussing the detention of Monseratte and his role as a conduit of black money for several other ruling politicians in the state.

"These are extraordinary circumstances. A minister in this cabinet has been caught smuggling. We want to discuss this. I also want to know stand of every MLA and minister on the other side on this issue," Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar said.

"This kind of a case is unprecedented. Is this a government of smugglers? Who had called from the finance minister`s office asking the customs officers to allow him (Monserrate) to go? There is no point discussing other issues if we cannot have a discussion on the education minister`s detention," the BJP leader said.

The BJP has already dubbed Monserrate a "mini Hasan Ali" -- after the Pune-based alleged money launderer who is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate -- and alleged that he could be laundering the monies of several ministers and politicians from Goa.

"He could be a conduit for parking money from minister and politicians abroad. He is a mini Hasan Ali...a Babush Ali," Parrikar had said Tuesday after staging a walkout from the Assembly.

Parrikar also said that the Goa government was a government "of smugglers, for smugglers, by smugglers".


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