Offshore casino not a hazard, says Gopal Kanda's firm



Panaji: Former Haryana home minister Gopal Kanda's company Golden Globe Hotels, that owns the MV Leela casino ship, has sought joint inspection of the vessel and said that it is not a hazard.

Earlier this month, the Goa government had classified the vessel as a "hazard" and was contemplating auctioning it off.

Officials attached to the Captain of Ports, a state government department looking after river navigation and minor port affairs, said that Kanda's company had claimed that the vessel was in fine shape and that it was not a danger to traffic in the Mandovi river, off Panaji, where it is currently anchored.

"We had issued the Golden Globe Hotels a notice asking them to tow the boat because the onboard casino is not functional and sometimes there is no one a board the ship. In the monsoon, the river current is rough. It could dislodge the anchor and the ship can become a risk to other vessels," a senior official said.

"They have now asked for a joint inspection. The ship's management claims that they have taken all steps necessary to ensure that the boat is in good shape and the maintenance is regularly done. We will frame our response soon," the official said.

In January, Goa Chief minister Manohar Parrikar had warned that Kanda's ship would be auctioned off because it had closed its casino operations and had not renewed its licence.

Kanda is lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail for his alleged abetment in the suicide of his former employee and ex-flight stewardess. He had bought the casino vessel from Goa-based Leela Beach Resort in July 2009.

IANS