The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday issued notices to Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's son, Abhijat, in connection with a petition filed against him for alleged destruction of forested areas for the construction of an eco-resort. The division bench headed by Justices Mahesh Sonak and Prithviraj Chavan directed Abhijat Parrikar, promoter of Hideaway Hospitality and other respondents, including the state Chief Secretary, Secretary Environment and Forests, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests among others, to respond to the notice by March 11.
On February 4, Abhijit Dessai, deputy sarpanch of the Netravali panchyat, had filed a petition seeking a stay on the construction of the resort near the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary in South Goa. According to the petition, the project had caused destruction of the forested areas and that several laws had been by-passed and an ordinance was specially moved by the state's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government to ensure fast-tracked facilitation of the resort which is spread over nearly 90,000 sq.m.
Meanwhile, the petition has also led to a scuffle between opposition Congress and the state government. While the Congress has claimed that three successive BJP-led governments had indulged in nepotism and alleged facilitation of illegalities in the project, right from its inception since 2013, BJP state President Vinay Tendulkar has ruled out any wrongdoing both by Abhijat and Manohar Parrikar.
"There is no illegality in the project. He (Abhijat Parrikar) has purchased the land. We have full faith in (Manohar) Parrikar as well as his son," Tendulkar added.
(With agency inputs)