CoP asked to halt operations of five off-shore casinos

Posted on 2009-06-26
PANAJI: The ad hoc House Committee for Home, chaired by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Manohar Parrikar on Thursday gave interim direction to the Captain of Ports, Capt A P Mascarenhas to immediately stop the operations of 5 off-shore casinos - Caravela, Rio, Casino Royale, Pride of Goa and Maharaja - anchored in River Mandovi, for having their licences to anchor within port limits expired recently.
Earlier, Capt Mascarenhas provided information to the committee that the licences granted by the Captain of Ports to the abovementioned five off-shore casinos for anchoring in River Mandovi, have expired earlier this year.
The Chief Secretary was also present at the meeting.
Later, speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, Mr Parrikar said that though the five offshore casinos are in possession of licences from the Director General of Shipping, their licences to anchor within the jurisdiction of the Captain of Ports expired, few months back. “Allowing such off-shore casinos to operate in Mandovi waters is a direct irregularity, and the committee has made this known to the Captain of Ports,” he added.
Interestingly, though the Arabian Sea King offshore casino has in force, the licence granted to it by the Captain of Ports, it was found to be evading payment of entertainment tax for at least 3 months. The committee also ordered a notice to be served to the owner of this offshore casino under the Sales Tax Act.
Furthermore, having found that the 5-Star categorisation of the Porvorim-based hotel Majestic has ended on June 6, 2009, the committee came to the conclusion that the land based casino/casinos running in the hotel should be stopped immediately.
Mr Parrikar said that the committee directed the Chief Secretary to convey to the Advocate General as well as government lawyers, the status of the licences issued by the CoP to the five
offshore casinos.
The AG should in fact, make this reality known to the High Court, since the matter as regards the off-shore casinos is sub-judice,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Association of Off-shore Casinos, Goa, reacting to the interim directions of the committee said that they would come out with the official statement shortly.