Accused of scam, Goa mayor wants accuser to take ‘coconut’ oath

Panaji, March 29 (IANS) Accused of allegedly diverting rations meant for home-delivery during the ongoing 21-day curfew, to a store run by his brother, the Mayor of Goa's only municipal corporation now wants the accuser to perform a ‘coconut' oath ritual to prove the charge.

Panaji's first citizen Uday Madkaikar, who heads the Corporation of the City of Panaji, threw this gauntlet after a BJP colleague, former Panaji MLA Sidharth Kuncalienkar urged Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to probe the alleged scam involving diversion of rations meant to be distributed at the doorsteps of Panaji's dwellers to a store operated by the Mayor's brother.

“I challenge him (Kuncalienkar) to prove this allegation or whoever told this to bring him and swear on a coconut in temple that my brother has taken Rs 57 for one kg sugar,” Madkaikar said in a Facebook post late on Saturday.

Swearing with the right hand on a coconut in front of a deity, is a local custom and a colloquially equivalent to taking oath on a religious text in court, to back up a claim and stating the truth.

Madkaikar was responding to an insinuation made by former Panaji MLA and a BJP leader Sidharth Kuncalienkar, who earlier on Saturday, had alleged a scam in the ration distribution effort of the city corporation.

“Got news – @ccpgoa has been clandestinely diverting rations from government store to private stores and selling to public at exorbitant rates. Req @goacm @PramodSawant and MLA Pnajai to investgate and punish people who are cheating Panaji and making money in these times of crisis,” Kuncalienkar had tweeted.

Kuncalienkar had also uploaded a photo of a packet of sugar with the cover branded with the logo of a state-run co-operative agency along with approximate details of the location of the store selling it.

Madkaikar claims that his father has been running the grocery story for decades and there had never been a complaint made by a customer.

“My father was running (the) grocery shop by name Uday store in Bhatle for last 65 years. After him, my brother looks after that shop. Not a single complain has been received from customers so far,” Madkaikar also said in his Facebook post.

Both Madkaikar and Kuncalienkar are BJP functionaries.

Efforts backed by the state government as well civic bodies with civilian volunteers, to deliver essential goods at the doorsteps of citizens all over Goa, have failed over the last few days, with the opposition and in this case even a BJP functionary, alleging a scam in the disbursal system.



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