Panaji: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said that Goa’s casinos are cheating the state government of Rs 4,000 crore in tax revenues every year, while also alleging that the Congress, BJP as well as Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar are in cahoots with the casino lobby in tourism-oriented states.
“The actual tax collection from the casino industry in Goa should be Rs 4,000 crore. How much does the Goa government get in from the casinos? Rs 200 crore. If government ministers and officers are cheating the government treasury of Rs 4,000 crore, can you imagine how much money they are pocketing,” the Aam Aadmi Party convenor said at a public meeting in Mapusa town, located about 10 kms north of the state capital.
“Last time, in 2012, Parrikar had said when the BJP comes to power, all casinos will be done away with. Why did he forget this when he came to power? He must have got a share of the casino revenue spoils. How much money did the BJP get, how much money did the Congress and officials get from the casino industry,” he asked.
Goa has five operational offshore casinos parked in the Mandovi river off Panaji and nine onshore casinos housed in the many resorts in the state’s coastal areas.
Kejriwal also said that women were being exploited in the state’s casinos and promised to ban the industry, once AAP comes to power in the state.
“Women are raped, women are exploited, prostitution, gambling and every kind of crime occurs in these casinos. Goans are tired of casinos. BJP cheated Goans because it is corrupt, Congress is also corrupt. Only an honest party can stop casinos,” he said, adding that the AAP does not accept funds from the casino lobby.