Goa cabinet minister Govind Gaude is again at the centre of a controversy as an audio clip has gone viral on social media of him allegedly abusing and threatening a government officer for organising an event through an NGO in his constituency Priol without his permission.
The unedited 4.14-minute audio clip is purportedly of a telephonic conversation between the minister and the director of tribal welfare. Gaude is allegedly heard lashing out at head of the department Dashrath Redkar for granting funds to an NGO for organising events through the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission in his constituency.
The art and culture minister allegedly yells, abuses, and threatens the officer of dire consequences if he and the chairman of the SC and ST Commission decide to go ahead with the event. The authenticity of the clip has not been established and some sources feel it could be old. In it, the minister allegedly also abuses assembly speaker Ramesh Tawadkar and chief minister Pramod Sawant in the local Konkani language.
CM Sawant has not yet reacted on the matter. This is the third instance of a controversy surrounding Gaude, creating embarrassment for the Sawant-led BJP government in Goa.
In the audio clip in Konkani, Gaude allegedly says that he will see how the event takes place and that particular NGO gets funds. He also purportedly tells the director to inform Tawadkar and the CM that he is not going to tolerate such things in his constituency. The director can be allegedly heard explaining to the minister why the funds were sanctioned and about the event, and also requesting him not to use offensive words.
When Gaude was asked by the media about the audio clip, he said, “These are all false allegations against me.”
AAP MLA Venzy Viegas criticised the minister over the string of controversies. “The power has gone to their head and that’s why they’re doing anything. Listen to that viral audio and see how he is threatening that officer,” he said. Another AAP MLA, Cruz Silva, has demanded an investigation into the audio clip issue.
Minister Gaude has been under the spotlight due to allegations of corruption in the renovation of Kala Academy, misappropriation of funds in the art and culture department, and the audio clip.
The Goa Congress has submitted a police complaint against Gaude, alleging that he threatened to kill the chairperson of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission. The party has demanded that an FIR should be registered against the minister for threatening government officials. It has also asked why the BJP is silent on the matter.