Goa restaurant owners cite Portuguese civil code amid Congress attack on Smriti Irani

In a major development, a local Goan family has claimed ‘sole’ ownership of ‘Silly Souls Cafe and Bar’ in the village of Assagao in North Goa days after Congress claimed the business was illegally run by the daughter of Union Minister Smriti Irani.

Notably, the owners of the business – Merlyn Anthony D’Gama and his son Dean D’Gama responded to Excise Commissioner Narayan M. Gad’s show cause notice on Friday July 29 and stated that the property is “exclusively” their business and “does not involve any other person(s)”.

In a lawsuit filed by a campaigning lawyer, the license to operate the upscale restaurant ‘Silly Souls Cafe and Bar’ was allegedly obtained ‘illegally’, and it was renewed this year in the name of one person (Anthony DGama) who died in 2021. However, in their defense, the family of Anthony DGama, in whose name the restaurant license was issued, cited a Portuguese-era law that gives the man the right of ownership on his wife when she died. and told authorities it is entirely their business and no one else is involved.

“The restaurant has nothing to do with the Iranians”: the lawyer for the DGama family

Benny Nazareth, the lawyer representing the D’Gama family, said that according to the Portuguese Civil Code still in force in Goa, ownership of the property is held jointly in the name of husband and wife. “But when the husband dies, the power is automatically transferred to the spouse. So nothing more needs to be done,” he told reporters, PTI reported.

According to media reports, when asked if the restaurant was linked to Smriti Irani or her family in any way, as claimed by the Congress party, the lawyer replied, “No, absolutely nothing. The owners are the D’Gamas.”

Delhi HC sends summons to Congress leaders

The Delhi High Court on Friday issued summonses to senior Congress leaders – Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D’souza in a case filed by Union Minister Smriti Irani for defamatory content published by them claiming involvement of Irani’s daughter in the Goan restaurant.

The notice stated that the aforementioned individuals had launched a series of “scathing and belligerent personal attacks” against Irani and his family “based on a series of blatant lies and gross misrepresentations” to slander, defame and harm their reputation.

The notice further stated that the Congressional allegations against the Union minister’s family were part of a “wider conspiracy” to make political profit by sensationalising falsehoods, misrepresentations and false accounts. The BJP leader had demanded an unconditional and unequivocal written apology from Congress leaders and the unconditional removal of all false information from social media platforms.

(With input from PTI)