Many Goans have wondered aloud on social media, in response to our earlier article, how the entire Goan government machinery and Ministers were ‘bought’ for just Rs 25 lakh (read here) by the fish mafia in the formalin-fish contamination issue that rocked Goa on Thursday?
Well, in our article yesterday, we forgot to mention that the Rs 25 lakh ‘bribe’ figure was possibly only the first installment or down payment.
Politician-fish mafia nexus controls import, distribution & pricing of fish?
According to insiders and people involved in the trade, the fish mafia in the State is said to earn a minimum profit of Rs 12-15 lakh per day in Goa after all expenses including transportation, small bribes to RTO/traffic police, labour costs, staff, and losses due to unsold or damaged goods.
Which means Rs 3-5 crore per month is what a couple of the big sharks earn in profits each month in Goa. All in cash. The minimum annual profit of a few big fish traders or the big sharks as we call them, in Goa is in the range of Rs 80 to Rs 120 crore.
Please note that these figures are not the profits on the total sale of fish or cold-storage fish in Goa. They are merely the profits of a handful of big traders who import fish in bulk from other states and can go to any extent to maintain and increase their margins.
Ten per cent of this amount would translate to Rs 30 to 50 lakh per month as kickbacks or ‘bribes’ distributed each month to politicians who control the fish mafia in Goa.
Now do you realize why some politicians were so worried about the formalin scare in the State? IndiaScoops.com in this article is not singling out or targeting any 1-2 politicians, it’s a disease that effects the entire system and everyone gets a slice of the pie.
And now do you realize why most of the senior politicians in Goa, irrespective of which political party they belong to have maintained a stoic and studied silence on the issue. The fish business nets profits of Rs 120 crore annually, 10 to 15 per cent of which goes into certain politicians pockets. The rest including senior police officials, bureaucrats and others get complimentary fish almost daily.
Do you know that when the first reports of fish formalin contamination came in early on Thursday morning, our Panaji reporter got in touch with about 8-10 senior politicians in Goa from different political parties. None of them were ready to speak on the issue and only said they were waiting for the results of the final tests. The rest you know is history!
Even the most honest politician in Goa, would have received the best catch from the big sharks ‘on the house’ at least several times a year, for family functions or events, making him perpetually indebted to the fish mafia. So how do you goenkar expect your MLA to come to your rescue while you are slowly getting poisoned by formalin?
A reliable source who works as an office boy cum assistant PA to one of the fish mafia politicians tells us that even the price of daily fish per kg imported into Goa is decided by his boss (the politician) and not by the fish traders. The fish is sold as per the diktats of the politicians and not the fish traders, who decide and dictate even which catch or type of fish goes to which part or market in the State. The per kg retail price is most of the time dictated or suggested by the politician who controls the traders in the area. Remember, we are not targeting any one or single politician in Goa, this happens in all the zones in the State, and every ‘bhai’ or ‘patrao’ gets his package each month.
Our sources tell us that politicians, senior police officials and bureaucrats in Goa get complimentary fish – the best of the catch almost everyday. Some politicians even order their daily quota of fish directly from the traders, without paying them.
Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. This post will be updated as inputs come in. Many people whom IndiaScoops.com spoke to are yet to revert to us with their feedback. You can send us your feedback and inputs on indiascoops AT gmail.com. We welcome suggestions and data from members of the public. We regret that we cannot individually reply to your emails or queries.