Goa Congress Criticises I-T Raid on Priest
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The state unit of Congress today expressed its displeasure over the raid on a Catholic priest after an anonymous caller claimed that the religious head was parking money for a minister.

The official residence of Fr Romano Gonsalves, a parish priest of St Francis Xavier Church, Velim, was on Monday searched by Income Tax officials currently on deputation with State Election Commission.

"The income tax raid on the priest is unfortunate. As per a newspaper report, only Rs 6,000 in cash and some chocolates were found during the raid," Francis Sardinha, Working President, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), told reporters today.

Sardinha also said that the officials asked irrelevant questions to the priest.

"The officials wanted to know what the priest does with the money collected in the Church. I hope in future such incidents are not repeated which hurt the religious sentiments," he said.

A senior Congress leader and MP Shantaram Naik said that the Income Tax officials should verify the information before conducting raids.

"Just because they are deputed with the Election Commission, they should not forget the Income Tax Act," he said adding their action was bound to flare up communal tension in the state.

"IT department’s raid was rash and violated the IT law and code of conduct," he said.

Election Commission officials on Wednesday had said that they received a complaint that the priest was parking money on behalf of a minister.

"Whenever we get information, we have to conduct raid and check the veracity," Narayan Navti, Joint Chief Electoral Officer, said.

Even if Rs 10 is found on a person in the raid, the Commission has to ensure that it is not election-related money, he said.
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