Panaji, Nov 18 : Even as the Opposition continues to bait Chief Minister Pramod Sawant over the purchase of several tracts of land in neighbouring Maharashtra, Sawant on Monday warned his critics of a defamation suit and said that while he had purchased land tracts in Sindhudurg district, the quantum of land purchased was not as much as was being alleged by his political opponents.
Sawant at a press conference, specially organised to rebut the allegations made against him, said that the Opposition appeared to have misread his property documents, including a decimal point and ended up committing a faux pas.
“I have not purchased crores of square metres as Goa Forward party leader Vijai Sardesai has alleged. If he continues to make false allegations against me, I will be forced to take legal action against him,” Sawant told reporters.
Sardesai, a former Deputy Chief Minister, had claimed that Sawant in one of the several transactions had purchased 2,966 hectares of land in Maharashtra, while Sawant insisted that it was only 2.966 acres (29,660 sq. mts), quoting property documents.
“Perhaps they have not seen the decimal point,” Sawant said and added that he had to avail of loans from various banks to purchase the parcels of land.
“I have loans to show for these transactions. The payments have also been done from my bank account. I have nothing to fear. This is nothing but an attempt to malign my name, because they cannot get any issue to criticise my government,” Sawant said.
Sawant also retaliated against Sardesai, and asked the Opposition MLA and former Deputy CM to explain a 500 per cent increase in his income from 2007 to 2012 from Rs 5.45 crore to Rs 25.21 crore.
Quoting Sardesai’s election affidavit filed in 2012, Sawant said that the Goa Forward party president had listed his annual family income as Rs 7 lakh and yet owns nine flats in a commercial building, which are purchased in the name of his wife Usha.
“How can a person who says that his family income is Rs 7 lakh come to own nine flats in a commercial building? This needs to be probed,” Sawant said.