SpeakGoa demands judicial inquiry into Sunburn Scam allegations

PRESS RELEASE

Thursday 28th February 2013, Panjim; Goa: SpeakGoa has demanded a judicial inquiry into allegations of corruption and tax evasion during Sunburn 2012 held in North Goa in the last week of December 2012. The Manohar Parrikar-led government in Goa has overlooked and turned a blind-eye to the allegations of bribery and tax evasion totally over Rs 15 crore. As per our figures, about Rs 5 core were distributed as bribes, kickbacks and other freebees and given out as largesse to various government and police officials, including MLAs and others in positions of power to enable the event to go on “smoothly”and to ensure that the organizers were not pulled up on any minor or major counts at the last moment or while the event was in progress.

In addition to the above Rs 5 crore paid under-the-table a tax evasion of about Rs 13 crore is quite likely given the numbers present at the venue on the three days of the event.

The Managing Director of Percept Mr Harinder Singh – organizers of Sunburn, has gone on record in writing stating that the maximum numbers of free passes were given out and the increase in the number of free passes was over 200 per cent this year (2012). In our opinion, free passes which were given to the Tourism Department for distribution to celebrities and other prominent citizens of Goa were sold in black and even at lower rates than the official rates on the last day in full view of entertainment tax and corporate tax officials. The Commissionerate of Commercial Taxes (CCT) deployed only 8-10 inspectors when there should have been at least 300 inspectors to catch touts red-handed given that there was a crowd of over 5 lakh persons in the vicinity of the event and in the Candolim area on the last day of the event.  Eyewitnesses say that there were about 80 to 100 touts selling passes in black quite openly. The government very well knows that there is a huge black marketing of passes during such events, very often by the organizers themselves. In spite of this, the government failed to take adequate steps to control and halt black-marketing of tickets.

We have reason to believe that Rs 90 lakh to Rs 110 lakh worth of tickets were sold in the “free or complimentary category” on the last day alone, and were sold unofficially in black outside the event venue. No entertainment tax was paid on these tickets and the state lost valuable revenue causing a loss of about Rs 13 crore to the State Exchequer

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