BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
The inability of Sports Authority of Goa Executive Director Geeta Nagvekar to verify objections by the Goa Masters Athletic Association (GMAA) in granting ground for a sports event led to mayhem and confusion in Peddem ground with the cops being called and one person detained for questioning.
The story came to light when one Parag Patil applied for the use of the athletic stadium in Bambolim to conduct an International Masters Athletic Meet and the same was rejected by former SAG ED Ajay Gaude.
The same Parag Patil re-applied for the use of ground after the change of guard in SAG by renaming it as a national meet instead of international. This time, GMAA in a letter dated December 22 warned Geeta about the bona fide of the organiser but the former went ahead and gave the necessary permission.
“When I was warned, I asked them to give me the proof. As they did not give me any proof, I went ahead and gave them the permission. The SAG needs some source of income,” reasoned Geeta Nagvekar.
The athletic event that started in the morning in Peddem turned into turmoil by afternoon as the participants – all from outside Goa - who had paid Rs 4,000 as participation fees - became aware that the organisers were failing on their promise of providing prize money and certificates for the event.
“Apart from the prize money and certificates, we decided to participate because it was an opportunity for us to come and see Goa. They advertised that the event was being held on a government ground. We are shocked that this meet is a scam,” said an infuriated Priya Bala from Tamil Nadu.
“By filing a police complaint here will not solve our purpose. We are going to file complaints against this conman Parag Patil in our state as it will help us follow the case better. Your government should have cross-checked the antecedents of this guy before allotting the ground to him,” chipped in Maya from Maharashtra.
“We had very clearly informed the SAG Executive Director of the repercussions this event would have as it was evident from our sources that this Parag Patil was a con and yet she went ahead ignoring our written complaint and gave the necessary permission,” lamented former Superintendent of Police and former athlete Anita Rodrigues and member of GMAA.
Anita Rodrigues, Member of Goa Masters Athletic Association
The fraud allegedly being perpetrated by Parag Patil and his cronies has shown the sports administration in Goa in a bad light, given the fact the State government intends to boost sports tourism in Goa.
“It is sad that the Executive Director of SAG decides to permit an event that was rejected before. Obviously, no checks were done or there were orders from above that needed to be complied with,” stated president of an association in Goa on condition of anonymity.
“I am holding charge of three departments and it gets very difficult for me to ascertain all details. When this person came to ask for permission, CCP commissioner Agnel happened to be sitting in my office to discuss other work,” explained Geeta whilst brushing aside any link in the presence of Agnel and Parag in her office at the same time.
“We were informed by participants attending a sports meet at SAG ground in Peddem that the organisers of the meet had cheated them by not giving them the prize money and certificates as promised. So, we have brought Parag Patil for questioning to the police station,” Mapusa Police Inspector Paresh Naik told Gomantak Times digital.
“I have received a message from the courier that the medals and certificates are reaching by tonight. There was a delay on the part of the courier. I never said I am an Olympian. I said I am a senior Olympian,” said Parag when in detention at the Mapusa police Station.
As the police waited to confirm the veracity of Parag’s statement, the athletes who were in Peddem dispersed and the organisers cleaned up the ground leaving no evidence of any turmoil of any event that could slur Goa’s attempt to sell sports tourism.