Deccan Herald

More than half of Goa’s 40 MLAs, almost all of whom are likely to contest the elections again, are worth crores of rupees.

But a sizeable number of them – nearly a quarter of the Goa House – also have criminal cases pending, says the National Election Watch (NEW) which launched a Goa unit to keep an eye on the poll process.

Relying on the affidavits filed by candidates in Goa’s 2007 election, the NEW says the average assets of an outgoing Goa MLA is an enviable Rs 425.61 lakh.

The Congress has the most crorepati MLAs. Thirteen out of 22 crorepati MLAs come from the ruling party. The BJP has four, the NCP one. The regional Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party has just two MLAs. But both of them, the Dhavlikar brothers who virtually own the MGP, are worth crores now.

There are no prizes for guessing which Goa representative is worth the most. Mine-owner Anil Salgaocar, who came to the Goa House as an independent, tops the list of Richie Riches with assets declared five years ago touching Rs 71 crore plus. Mining was nowhere near its present boom then. A distant second is Congress minister and one-time loan shark Babush Monserrate who was worth over Rs 15 crore. Another minister Joaquim Alemao who has also made a fortune riding the mining tide was worth Rs 9.12 crore in 2007 and his brother Churchill declared assets of Rs 5.61 crore.

Speaker Pratapsingh Rane and his son Vishwajit were jointly worth over Rs 16 crore in 2007. Rane Sr is among those who didn’t bother to furnish PAN details.

Small as they might seem, the regional parties were represented by MLAs with loads of money. Money appears to have made all the difference in getting Salgaocar elected for the first time to the Goa assembly. The NEW says the more that people come out to vote, the more they can make a difference to the electoral system.

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