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Goencho Avaaz demands justice for FDA officer

Panjim: Goencho Avaaz has demanded justice for Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) officer Iva Fernandes, who first exposed the formalin in fish scandal in the State.

“We condemn the harassment meted out to the FDA officer Iva Fernandes and demand protection to the officer to enable her to carry out her duties with the same zeal and honesty that she and other honest officers in the government have been known to do,” Goencho Avaaz co-convener Viriato Fernandes said, demanding a judicial enquiry into the controversy to unearth the conspiracy.

Expressing shock and distress at the alleged harassment meted out to her, the civic group also pointed fingers at a meeting of a fish trader with Union Minister Suresh Prabhu last month.

“On the very first day of the formalin conspiracy’s expose, FDA Director (Jyoti Sardesai) shocked the people of Goa by passing orders to the FDA officers who were carrying out the raid, to back off. What was even more inexcusable was the fact that she (Director) allegedly passed this order over the phone owned by the main accused in this issue. It is indeed a slap on the face of the Goan taxpayer, when government officers show more loyalty to their political masters, rather than the people they profess to serve,” Swapnesh Sherlekar, also co-convener of the group alleged.

The wholesale fish trader Ibrahim’s meeting with Union Minister Suresh Prabhu, he said, gave rise to speculation amongst people about who the facilitator of this meeting was.

“It is a matter of shame that the Health Minister has failed to take note of media reports of the tremendous pressure and harassment being meted out to Iva,” he added.

Fernandes has also received support from NGO Lokancho Aadhar, that alleged she was subjected to mental harassment and demanded that government restore her self-respect, dignity and administrative powers. [H]

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