Casino ship owned by Gopal Kanda's company towed away

Kanda Casino ShipPicture for representation purpose. (Reuters)

Goa government has towed away the casino ship of a firm belonging to former Haryana Minister Gopal Kanda, accused of abetting suicide of an ex-airhostess Geetika Sharma, for failing to pay Rs 12 crore fees to authorities.

State Ports department recently shifted the ship from Mandovi River near Panaji to South Goa in a yard, after officially confiscating it for failure to pay fees of Rs 12 crore to the state government.

Government officials said that the ship is owned by M/s Golden Globe Hotels Private Limited, a company owned by Kanda, which has named this ship as "Casino Rio".

Captain James Braganza, heading the port operations, said the state government is toying with the possibility of auctioning the ship. We will seek legal opinion on the matter, he said.

Kanda's company had purchased the vessel from Leela Beach Resort way back in 2009 but could not get it operational as it had no valid documents to procure the permission.

Goa government officials said that the ship was "almost abandoned" midway in the Mandovi River channel and it was amounting to navigational hurdle for other vessels using the inland waterway.

The vessel was anchored just below twin Mandovi Bridges connecting Panaji to neighbouring suburb.

The tourism department had earlier issued two notices to the company in January and June, 2013 directing the vessel owner to remove the vessel under Section 7 of the Goa tourist places (protection and maintenance) Act, 2001.

Kanda is accused of abetting the suicide of 23-year-old former air hostess Geetika Sharma, who was earlier employed in his MDLR airlines.

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