Arrested and released on bail for uploading a false Facebook post announcing the death of ailing Manohar Parrikar, businessman Kenneth Silveira has said he was arrested two days after he filed an RTI plea with the Goa Chief Minister’s Office seeking his health status.
The 35-year-old, arrested and released on bail last week, detailed the police action in a new social media post on Monday. Parrikar is being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer in a New York hospital.
On Monday, Silveira, who unsuccessfully contested the 2017 Panaji Legislative Assembly bypoll against Parrikar, also alleged that the Crime Branch was “instructed by the Chief Minister’s Office” to “illegally arrest him”.
“BJP government is scared of me and wanted to muzzle me, one of the few reasons for my illegal arrest,” Silveira said in his Facebook post.
“This RTI was sent by me directly to the CM office after which I was arrested on flimsy grounds. BJP government stands exposed by me… Only way to silence me is to kill me,” said the resident of Vasco port town, 35 km from here.
The application filed under the Right to Information Act, a copy of which has also been uploaded to Facebook, seeks to know among other things issues related to governance in the absence of Parrikar, expenditure incurred by the state government on the treatment of the Chief Minister, copies of his medical bills and Parrikar’s expected date of return.
Kenneth was arrested by the Crime Branch of Goa Police on April 18, a day after he put up a post on the social media site claiming Parrikar was dead. He was arrested after a complaint was filed by a Goa Bharatiya Janata Party official.
On April 20, a few dozen members of civil society staged a protest outside the state police headquarters accusing the police of trying to muzzle free speech.