As opposition parties demanded the sacking of State Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar for being chargesheeted in an unlawful assembly case, Goa Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza today defended his cabinet colleague saying that he has not been convicted yet.
“Filing of charge-sheet does not mean someone is convicted. It is not the judgement,” D’Souza said playing down the demands of removing the minister from cabinet.
“Chargesheet means there are prima facie evidence, which needs to be proven. I feel only once charges are framed against the minister, then it is a matter of seriousness. Then it is serious,” D’Souza told reporters here.
When asked whether the minister should step down on his own, D’Souza said it is for the minister to decide.
“It is for the individual to take a call. It is his own conscience that has to guide him. In some cases individual on their own step down while some don’t,” he said.
Opposition parties in the state including Congress, AAP, NCP and Goa Forward are demanding resignation of Tawadkar.
“We demand that Tawadkar should resign voluntarily from the cabinet or chief minister should drop him from the cabinet. He has been accused of serious charges and now he is before the court,” Congress’ Goa Spokesman Sunil Kawathankar said.
He said Congress party will be petition Governor Mridula Sinha seeking her intervention to drop the minister from the cabinet.
Yesterday, Canacona Police charge-sheeted Tawadkar before a Judicial Magistrate First Class after he allegedly barged into the office of a senior forest officer at Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and forcibly took away two persons who were in custody there on April 27, 2009.
He was booked under various sections of Indian Penal Code for unlawful assembly, rioting and criminal trespass.
NCP State President Jose Philip D’Souza said the cabinet should not have a tainted minister.
“He should resign immediately. By keeping him in the cabinet BJP is proving that it is the party with tainted faces,” he said.
Goa Forward too has echoed the demand of his removal.
“Such a tainted minister cannot continue to be part of the cabinet. Chief Minister should sack the minister if he does not resign on his own,” party spokesman Durgadas Kamat said.
AAP has served ultimatum of 15 days for the state government to sack the minister, failing which they have decided to approach Governor with a petition.