An aggressively enterprising politician he has been on the fast lane always. He bought 14 properties in God's Own Country apart from all that he acquired in Goa during his term as chairman of GIDC. His list of houses, property and offices is astonishing for a class 8 pass-out. Now a Delhi resident has gone public with bribe accusations against Kavlekar in his new avatar as TCP minister for converting his property which had all the 'criteria of being classified as settlement zone'.

September 13, 2019

Lionel Messias

In the second part of this series on MLAs demanding a piece of the pie, as if your tax money was something that just had to be divided among the political class, I take a look at party hopper, Deputy Chief Minister(see pic where he is shaking hands with CM after taking the oath), minister for Town & Country Planning, Agriculture, Archives, Archaeology, Factories and Boilers; Chandrakant 'Babu' Kavlekar. An aggressively enterprising politician (2007 declared assets: Rs 1,31,66,225, 2012 assets: Rs 5,31,79,015, 2017: Rs 9,37,61,666), who could manage to extract the crucial TCP ministry; he was one of the 18 MLAs to get a housing loan of Rs 30,00,000 plus car loans limited to Rs 15,00,000. He got a car loan of Rs 14,48,795.

On the fast lane always he has owned at various times the following vehicles: a truck bought in 1998, a Hyundai Accent (bought in 2000), Maruti Wagon R (2004), Toyota Innova (2007), Honda City (2007), Mahindra Scorpio (2009), Toyota Innova (2015), Hero Honda Passion motorbike (2010), Maruti Ciaz (2015), a Mahindra-made vehicle (2015) and a Maruti-made (2016). Interestingly he also availed of a government loan of Rs 11,12,795 and a housing loan of Rs 25,80,000, declared in 2017. Is Kavlekar a compulsive borrower? Evidence points to precisely that.

Including 'other liabilities' owed to the government of Rs 30,00,000 making it a total of Rs 66,92,795 owed; his grand total in all toted up to an astonishing Rs 81,49,458 declared in an affidavit in 2017. A point to note here is that two unsecured loans taken from two individuals (names mentioned in his affidavit) of Rs 2,40,000 and Rs 5,60,000 were declared again in 2017. A confirmed serial borrower or call him a firm believer in borrowing from banks and government, he had a total declared liability of Rs 1.89 cr, up from Rs 23,45,022.51 in 2012. Which can mean only this: he has an infinite capacity to repay his loans matched only by his audacious accumulation of assets like land, houses and industrial investments in the Verna industrial estate. Simultaneously, investing a little over Rs 1.80 cr in insurance policies.

An 81.5 sq mt apartment at Rosary Commercial Arcade, Navelim bought in 2001 for Rs 4, 95,000; a shop also at Rosary Commercial Arcade, Navelim Salcete (2001); a 56.78 sq mt studio apartment at Benaulim Village (2011) for Rs 8,51,700; a 190.97 sq mt bunglow in Venelim (2009). These are evidently investments he made, a deduction that can safely be made based on how far away they are from his Quepem constituency.

For him it was God’s own country

Kavlekar is a three-time MLA and was the chairman of the Goa Industrial Development Corporation in the Congress government during the period 2007-12. Kavlekar who is the deputy CM in the BJP government now was summoned for questioning on February 5, 2018, while being the Congress’ opposition leader, by the ACB in connection with the September 16, 2017 FIR for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets of Rs 4 crores. In fact, the whispers about Kavlekar’s disproportionate assets including his 14 properties in Kerala began after Goa police filed a case in 2012, indicating that his loot was acquired when he was chairman, GIDC. Incidentally his wife Savitri, then a Congress leader, was a co-accused as she was the director in his company after the ACB raided the residence and office premises owned by the couple.

By the way, it seems to have taken Goa police 5 years to translate Kavelkar’s property documents from Malayalam as admitted by the then Superintendent of Police (ACB) Bosco George, who also said "his disproportionate assets have been valued at over Rs 4.78 crore (around 59.21% above their known sources of income of Rs 1 crore each that the couple filed before the Lokayukta) excluding the unexplained amount of Rs 5.50 crore". His Kerala plantation alone was worth Rs 32.5 crore.

Kavlekar also declared in 2017 that he owned a proprietary firm named Savitri Packaging Products at the Verna industrial estate, he valued at Rs 77,82,587, with an add-on of Rs 3,95,101, and a capital infusion of Rs 48,920 in a partnership firm named Mk Enterprises, a partnership valued at Rs 67,99,730.

His list of houses, property and offices is astonishing for a class 8 pass-out. By 2017 he also owned a 47.37 sq mt office at Raya Rajaram Chamber, Quepem purchased in 2006 for Rs 1,80,000. A 391 sq mt factory building on lease also at the Verna industrial estate. Another 300 sq mt lease hold plot (2009) at Verna. Finally a fourth declared 1,296 sq mt acquisition also at Verna made in 2001.

He owns 7.450 acres (30,150 sq mt) agricultural land in Rivona, Sanguem, he bought in 2007 for Rs 26,71,987.

Old habits die hard

A Delhi resident Puneet Gupta (residing at 19, H Block, Greater Kailash) who calls himself a developer and owns two properties in Goa, has added a new dimension to Kavlekar’s shenanigans in a letter to the Prime Minister and put up on social media. His properties he claims are 'partly settlement and partly orchard' but the Town and Country Planning Department (TCP) insisted they came under the orchard zone intent on making him pay a bribe; he claimed was false as the properties had all the 'criteria of being classified as settlement zone'.

"To explain the said arbitrary zoning I sought an appointment with the TCP Minister Chandrakant Kavlekar. He told me to meet the Chief Town Planner Rajesh Naik….who told me to meet Adv Pavitran at his office. The appointed time and place was fixed over mobile calls by Naik. The conversation is available with me and can be furnished if required."

"On the appointed date I was given a form by the clerk where I had to fill my property details, whether I had come for zone change or approvals. I was given token number 17".

"I entered the cabin and a person introduced himself as Adv Pavitran. There was a Paresh Gaitonde in the cabin, known in circles as being a “p…p” in land deals and another lady who introduced herself as Livia Antao and claimed to be the wife of Kavlekar (as I have said earlier his actual wife is Savithri). She immediately quoted the rate for converting my property would be Rs 3,000 per sq mt and informed me that I had to confirm within three days."

"I tried to intervene and put up my issue which was rejected by Livia Antao who informed me there was no room for deliberation. The next day I met Naik and told him the entire sequence of events and sought his intervention. Naik himself expressed inability saying that Livia Antao was dictating even to him, the minister, other TCP officials, including the other Chief Town Planner, James Mathew."

"In two days I got a call from 9922233244. I realized it was Livia Antao who said she had called to inquire whether I was agreeable to the price quoted by her, which I immediately refused. She threatened that my property will remain that way and that she will see that I won’t even find a buyer for my property as I won’t be able to get an NOC for sale. The said recording of the conversation is available with me."

"The next day I got call from the same number 9922233244. The said record of conversation is available with me and can be furnished if required." (Goanspirit adds: Here Livia Antao repeats the same threats and says Gupta must accept all the consequences and disconnects.)

The letter has a few allusive and oblique remarks regarding Livia Antao and Kavlekar and the power she wields over the TCP, all of which can only be substantiated by the records Gupta claims he has. But the fact he put it up on social media is substantive. Goanspirit has also given you verbatim the crucial parts of the 1060 word actual letter, with the occasional editing only for the sole purpose of correcting the English text. The letter was copied to the Enforcement Directorate, Goa, Central Vigilance Department, Delhi, Directorate of Vigilance, Panjim, Principal Chief IncomeTax Commissioner, Goa, DG Investigation (Income Tax), Banglore and the Central Bureau of Investigation, Delhi.