Herald Goa

In 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly, nine incumbent legislators, two of whom resigned to switch to other party, have criminal cases against them. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR),  in a detailed report on the criminal history of the politicians, reveals 22.5 per cent MLAs have criminal cases which are non-bailable and punishment of which is five years or more. 

Govind Gaude, who recently quit as Independent MLA of Priol and joined hands with BJP, has maximum three cases followed by Atanasio Monserrate, Michael Lobo, Nilkanth Halankar and Vishwajit Rane with two cases each. Jennifer Monserrate, Digambar Kamat, Churchill Alemao and Vinod Paliencar have one case each registered against them. 

The criteria for serious offences against these politicians comprise of offences with maximum punishment of five years or more, offence is non-bailable, related to loss to State exchequer and offence such as murder, rape, kidnap, corruption charges, among others. 

The election in 2017 had the maximum winners with criminal charges. Around 27 per cent had criminal 

offences and 22.5 per cent with serious criminal offences. In the previous 2012 assembly election, 12 per cent had criminal charges against them while two per cent had serious offences. In 2007, 23 per cent of those elected to the legislative assembly had offences against them while no legislator had serious offences. 

The Monserrate-couple had changed their party from Congress to BJP in 2019 while Vishwajit Rane had joined BJP in April 2017, days after resigning from Congress in March. Lobo, who remained a strong pillar of BJP quit last week to later join Congress.

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