PANJIM: Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) designate officer Iva Fernandes has accused her department of harassment after she exposed the presence of formalin in fish last year.
In her submission before the Goa Human Rights Commission (GHRC), she claimed that FDA Director Jyoti Sardesai has been persecuting her for upholding the law and for not succumbing to external pressures.
The written reply, submitted by her lawyer Aires Rodrigues states, “As part of the harassment meted out to her, she was denied her rightful Leave Travel Concession (LTC) by rejecting at the last minute her application for permission to leave the headquarters thus causing her a financial loss of Rs 34,592 on the travel tickets bought. She was singled out for discrimination when all other applications for LTC from the Gazette Officers in the department were cleared.”
Rodrigues said that Fernandes has alleged that Sardesai is very high-handedly persecuting her for upholding the law and not succumbing to external pressures. The Commission has adjourned the matter for final hearing next month.
Earlier, the State government had claimed that Fernandes had been selected for various training programmes in order to benefit her career.
The FDA field officer had busted the formalin in fish racket in July 2018 by conducting on-the- spot tests amidst the crowd in the Margao market. Her expose had led to a ban on the import of fish until the traders registered with the Goa FDA and followed the norms laid down in connection with trading and selling fish.
The whistleblower thereafter approached the GHRC alleging harassment by FDA and demanded an examination of phone records of senior officials of the department, which she said would establish their links to fish traders involved in using formalin to preserve fish stocks. The government had denied her allegation claiming it is a figment of her imagination.