India Today
Krishna Kumar

The Indian growth story has been on a downslide and is further decelerating.But never mind, the political economy in Goa has recorded such a robust growth that it will put to shame even the best positive trends in the world.

The assets of Dinar Tarcar, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP)-BJP combine candidate from Santa Cruz in the scenic state, have recorded a staggering growth of 824 per cent over five years. Tarcar, who had declared assets of Rs.5 crore in the 2007 polls, is now worth Rs.211 crore.

The MGP-BJP candidate leads the pack of 125 candidates in Goa who have declared assets of over a crore. Their combined wealth is nearly Rs.700 crore.

Friends claim that Tarcar has earned his millions in the construction business. He also has interests in mining. But nobody could explain the staggering growth in his assets in the past five years. BJP sources said Tarcar had earned this money during the past 20 years but intriguingly, none of them could tell what he did then to earn at such a fast rate.

Tarcar's name features in an income tax probe against Babush Monserrate - former Goa minister of town and country planning. The probe found that Monserrate was paid Rs.26 crore to sanction the conversion of huge tracts of agricultural land for residential/business purposes. The money was paid to the then minister at Tarcar's office.

He has also been 'indirectly' indicted in the illegal mining scam, in a report by the Public Accounts Committee, which is chaired by senior BJP leader Manohar Parrikar.

Tarcar, ironically, is now contesting against Monserrate in Santa Cruz.BJP sources said Tarcar has been chosen by the MGP, as he is the best candidate to defeat Monserrate - a politician with "deep pockets".

And if that was not enough, till 2011, Tarcar was paying his tax on a declared income of just Rs.1 crore.

But Tarcar is not the only one who has grown rich in Goa. And Independent MLA Nirmala Sawant, who has declared assets worth Rs.36.30 crore, proves that the phenomenon is not confined to any particular party.

Sawant is followed closely by Congress MLA Joaquim Alemao, who is worth Rs.31.26 crore, according to his poll affidavit. Congress candidate Shyam Satardekar is worth Rs.30 crore and Goa Speaker Pratapsingh Rane has declared assets worth Rs.25 crore. Rane's son Vishwajeet, who is a minister in CM Digambar Kamat's cabinet, is worth Rs15 crore. Another minister, Atanasio Monserrate has declared assets worth Rs.23 crore while his wife Jennifer has declared assets of an equal value.

What makes these figures all the more interesting is a comparison of the wealth of these candidates in 2007. While Satardekar had Rs.4 crore five years ago, Rane had Rs.8 crore. Joaquim Alemao was worth Rs.9 crore in 2007 but his fortunes have now risen to Rs.22 crore. Panduring Dhavalikar of the MGP had declared Rs.1 crore in 2007. Five years later his worth is Rs13 crore. Laxmikant Parsekar of the BJP registered a rise of Rs.9 crore in his assets over the past five years.

Chief minister Digambar Kamat had declared assets worth Rs.3.23 crore in 2007, most of which were in his wife, Usha's, name. This year the CM has declared Rs.6.21 crore.

This data was compiled by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). It also showed that many of the contestants in the poll fray in Goa this year have been tax cheats.United Goans Democratic Party (UGDP) candidate Ramakant Borkar, worth Rs.1.76 crore, has never filed an I-T return. Similarly, Mario Morais of the Trinamool Congress and Vishnu Wagh of the BJP, who have Rs.1.74 crore and Rs1.25 crore worth of assets, have also never filed I-T returns.

The ADR data also showed that 23 per cent of the candidates for the Goa assembly polls have criminal cases pending against them.

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