INDIA.Goa: Days after the Congress allegation that Silly Souls Cafe and Bar in Goa’s Assagao was run by Union Minister Smriti Irani’s daughter and “fraudulently” renewed its bar license in the name of a dead person, the local family has come up owning the cafe and has informed the State Excise. The commissioner said on Friday that the property is solely their business and does not involve anyone else.
An activist-lawyer Aires Rodrigues filed a complaint alleging that the license to operate the luxury restaurant ‘Silly Souls Cafe and Bar’ was obtained “illegally” and that it was renewed this year in the name of a person who had died in 2021.
Notably, the license for Silly Souls Cafe and Bar, which was embroiled in controversy, was in the name of Anthony D’Gama. Upon his demise in 2021, the license would pass to his legal heir after due process. When Anthony D’Gama’s son applied for license renewal this year, he mentioned that the ownership transfer would be completed in 6 months. However, the Excise Commissioner of Goa sent him a show cause notice for the same.
However, Congress last week claimed that the daughter of Irani was linked to the property, which the minister denied.
During the first hearing in the case conducted by state Excise Commissioner Narayan Gad on Friday, the family members of Anthony D’Gam, in whose name the restaurant license was issued, told the authorities that it was purely their matter and no other person was involved.
Lawyer Benny Nazareth, who represents the D’Gama family, told reporters after the hearing that Portugal’s civil code dictates that when a husband dies, his powers pass to his partner.
He said the application to renew the license was made by family members after Anthony’s death.
Social activist and lawyer Rodrigues, who is the complainant in the case, pointed out to the Excise Commissioner that the renewal of the license was sought on behalf of Anthony more than a year after his death.
Anthony D’Gama’s son Dean was present when the case was heard.
A lawyer representing the D’Gama family said that according to the Portuguese Civil Code, ownership of the property is jointly in the name of the husband and wife.
“But when the husband dies, the power is automatically transferred to the husband. So there’s really no need to do anything,” he added.
Meanwhile, Merlyn, wife of the late D’Gam, in her written submission denied all the allegations levelled by Rodrigues in his complaint before the Commissioner of Excise.
On Friday, posting a further hearing in the matter to August 22, the Excise Commissioner fixed two questions for determination, the first of which was whether the excise license was obtained on the basis of false and insufficient documents and through misrepresentation, while the second is whether there were any procedural irregularities on the part of the excise officials.