GFP chief Trajano D'Mello spokesman accuses party chief Vijai Sardesai of backing fish mafia

Updated: Oct 09, 2018, 09:16 IST | PTI

The issue of formalin or formaldehyde, a potential cancer-inducing chemical, as a preservative in fish has been rocking Goa for the last several months

Representational picture
Representational picture

Goa Forward Party chief spokesperson Trajano D'Mello Monday said party chief Vijai Sardesai's "silence" on "harassment" of a woman FDA officer who had certified the presence of formalin in the fish imported from other states is indicative of "abetment". He also accused Sardesai, who holds Agriculture portfolio, of "backing fish mafia".

Taking serious note of D'Mello's statement, the GFP has issued him a show cause notice. The GFP, with three MLAs, is one of the ruling constituents of the BJP-led government in the state. D'Mello's statement came in the wake of a complaint filed by Iva Fernandes, a State Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) department officer who had accused some officials of mentally harassing her for filing a report in the past that fish imported in Goa was laced with formalin, a type of preservative. The FDA had later retracted her report. She had approached the Goa State Human Rights Commission (GSHRC) last week over the "harassment". GFP Vice President Dilip Prabhudesai accused D'Mello of planning to rejoin the Congress, which he had left on the eve of 2017 Goa Legislative Assembly elections. He said the GFP is in no way connected with the FDA department, Fernandes and the supposed harassment that he mentions. "It is obvious that the Goa Congress is on a recruitment drive and that the habitual desertersand 'Jumping Jacks' are being offered packages," Prabhudesai said. Earlier in the day, D'Mello accused Sardesai of not taking up burning issues. "In the recent criminal case of formalin laced fish, the people of Goa have seen your negative role in determining the criminals by backing the fish mafia, much to the ire of the people," he said. D'Mello expressed anguish over "harassment and mental torture" of Fernandes. "Iva Fernandes, an honest and upright person conducted the formalin tests on fish and gave her factual findings, bringing to light the criminal activities (slow poisoning) of the fish mafia that endangers the life of every Goan. "This officer is now being harassed/mentally tortured to an extent that she has had to approach the Goan Human Rights Commission," he said. D'Melllo appealed Sardesai to break silence on this matter. "Your silence indicates that you are abetting in the harassment of this upright lady officer," he said. The Goa government Monday said it would hire an international agency to check fish and ensure that hazardous chemicals like formalin are not used as preservatives. The issue of formalin or formaldehyde, a potential cancer-inducing chemical, as a preservative in fish has been rocking Goa for the last several months.

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