Goa activist Aires Rodrigues alleges cries harassment by BJP govt

Manhohar Parrikar

Panaji, Dec 6 : Aires Rodrigues, a Goa-based lawyer-cum-activist, has alleged harassment by the BJP-led government after the Crime Branch on Thursday issued summons to him to appear in connection with a criminal complaint filed in 2016 alleging that he is a Portuguese and so could not practice in an Indian court.

Rodrigues had led a public protest to the private residence of ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar demanding the latter’s resignation on grounds of ill-health.

The summons have been issued in connection with a FIR under sections 177 (false information), 181 (false statement on oath), 419 (cheating by impersonation) and 420 (cheating) IPC and Section 14 of the Foreigners act filed by a Calvert Gonsalves in 2016 who alleged that Rodrigues had availed of Portuguese citizenship and therefore should be barred from appearing in Indian courts as an advocate. He also sought criminal action against the lawyer.

Rodrigues told reporters that in 2016, soon after the registration of FIR, he had submitted a detailed response to the Crime Branch and that a summons issued to him after a gap of two years “reeked of dubiousness and harassment”.

Rodrigues has been critical of the functioning of the Parrikar-led coalition government.

A senior official attached to the Crime Branch said: “There is no external pressure on our probe.”

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