In a recent development, a local Goan family has claimed they have the “exclusive” control of the silly soul restaurant, which was used by the Congress party in an attempt to damage the character of Union Minister Smriti Irani and her family by falsely accusing her 18-year-old daughter Zoish Irani of operating that illegal bar in Goa.
Recently, owners Merlyn Anthony D’Gama and her son Dean D’Gama responded to Excise Commissioner Narayan M. Gad’s show cause notice on July 29 and stated that property “is purely its business and includes no other person/persons.” The family added that they “had not violated any of the terms of the Goa Excise Duty Act and Rules, 1964.” and the charges against them were “completely false and untrue.”
Notably, Anthony D’Gama’s name appeared on the license for the Silly Souls Cafe and Bar, which was the subject of the debate. The license would have been transferred to his legal heir in accordance with the proper steps upon his passing in 2021.
When Anthony D’Gama’s son applied for a license renewal this year, he stated that the transfer of title would be completed in six months. But despite that he received a show cause notice for the same.
After a Goa “activist” named Aires Rodrigues submitted an RTI application seeking details regarding the Excise License granted to Silly Souls Goa Cafe and Bar, the show cause notice was issued. After learning the relevant details, Rodrigues used his website to make a statement against the restaurant, alleging that a bogus excise license had been granted to it and that this was evidence of widespread corruption on the part of the Irani family. The Goa excise department sent the restaurant a show cause notice following the filing of the complaint.
According to the response, Merlyn and Dean, who have been serving as the family’s Power of Attorney since August 20, 2021, submitted an application for the renewal of the liquor license in Anthony’s name on June 22. The application included a copy of Anthony’s death certificate, which was provided by the Mumbai Municipal Company. It added that Dean was asked to guarantee that the license would be transferred within six months.
The response went on to say that Dean had signed the excise license renewal and application paperwork while his father was still living. Following his father’s passing, “the word ‘late’ remained to be pre-fixed for the final renewal, which is a genuine mistake and is neither deliberate nor willful.” The response stated that this was done owing to “sheer terror,” “sheer oversight,” and “bona fide omission.”
The D’Gama family’s lawyer, Benny Nazareth, stated, “We are governed by the Portuguese Civil Code. According to Article 1117 of the Code, the husband and wife are equally and severally liable for the property (of the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867). But according to the law, the administration is always done in the husband’s name. However, when one spouse passes away, the other spouse is automatically given control of the estate. Therefore, in this situation, the spouse automatically becomes the estate’s administrator. Nothing else has to be done at this time.”
The lawyer added, “No, absolutely nothing. There is absolutely no relationship between the restaurant and Smirti Irani or any of her family members. The proprietors are the D’Gamas.”
On July 24, Union Minister Smriti Irani sent a legal notice to Congress party members for bringing her personal life into politics and bringing her daughter Zoish Irani in between. Irani has asked the Congress party, through its president Sonia Gandhi, and its leaders Pawan Khera, Jairam Ramesh, and Netta D’Souza, to stop and desist from spreading false, misleading, and insulting information and claims about her daughter.
Irani has emphasized in her legal notice that her daughter Zoish was never involved in operating a bar in Goa and that she never asked for a license to “manage” a bar or any other type of business. Additionally, she has not received a show cause notice from the Excise Department of Goa to date.
In addition, Smriti Irani sued Pawan Khera, Jairam Ramesh, and Netta D’Souza for defamation, claiming damages of more than Rs 2 crore for false claims made against her and her daughter. She earlier challenged the Congress party and pushed them to reveal the identity of her daughter on the show cause notice they had flashed in the press conference.
Congress party leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera, and Netta D’souza attacked Smriti Irani, by bringing untrue accusations against her 18-year-old daughter Zoish Irani accusing the 18-year-old of seeking to obtain a bogus liquor license. They claimed that the license was obtained in June 2022 in the name of a guy who had passed away in May of the previous year, or 13 months earlier. They further claimed that the restaurant had obtained two licenses, even though Goa law only permits restaurants to obtain one bar license.
Meanwhile, it was revealed later that Zoish Irani, daughter of Smriti Irani had interned at Silly soul restaurant back in 2019.
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