Judge recuses himself from former Goa minister’s bail plea

Friday, June 18, 2010

PANAJI - Former Goa minister Mickky Pacheco’s bail plea in the case relating to his 28-year-old alleged lover’s death, could not be heard Friday as a Bombay High Court judge recused himself from the hearing.

In his bail application before the Panaji bench of the high court, the former tourism minister says that it is a “witch hunt” against him because of his “frank and forthright” comments on scams in departments directly governed by the chief minister and the home minister.

Pacheco, who is ‘on the run’ along with his key aide Lyndon Monteiro, has said that he would be subjected to “third degree” treatment if he was arrested by the police.

“The petitioner is known as frank and forthright politician and has commented on many occasions on his cabinet colleague, including the honourable home minister… The petitioner openly spoke about the excise scam and the drug racket in Goa. The honourable chief minister is also holding the portfolio of excise,” Pacheco said in his bail application.

The lucrative excise department portfolio, in which a multi-crore Rupee scam was exposed recently by Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar is held by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat.

Home Minister Ravi Naik has been accused by the opposition of sheltering key accused in the high profile police-politician-drug mafia nexus being probed by the police.

Pacheco said that the accusations against him were political in nature and were meant to hammer him into submission.

“The accusations made by the press are false and politically motivated in order to see that the petitioner’s political career is terminated or weakened to a large extent so that he becomes meek and obliging and does not cause any threat to the present political balance in Goa, directly or indirectly,” Pacheco said in his application, which is likely to be heard now by the chief justice of the Bombay High court in the next few days.

Pacheco, who has been charged with extortion, bigamy and assault in the past, has also asked for a judicial enquiry into his alleged love Nadia Torrado’s death as well as into the excise scam and drug racket “in which cases the kin and kith of political bigwigs in the government are involved”.

Torrado died May 30, fifteen days after she consumed rat poison. Both Pacheco and his aide Monteiro as well as members of Nadia’s family are in the ambit of suspicion, police say.

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