Goa tourism minister gets interim bail in casino extortion case


Panaji : Goa Tourism Minister Francisco alias Mickky Pacheco was Saturday granted interim bail by a district court in Margao. He was booked two days ago for allegedly threatening and extorting money from a casino.

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The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator was booked by the Crime Branch Thursday for allegedly extorting Rs.3.60 lakh from the management of Treasures casino, housed in the Majorda beach resort, a five star facility in South Goa.

Speaking to reporters Saturday in Margao, 30 km from here, Pacheco said a Congress minister from the state cabinet was behind the complaint against him and alleged that the minister also complained to NCP chief Sharad Pawar that “he was extorting money from the casino operators in the state”.

“There is no issue of extortion. The Crime Branch has purposely booked the extortion case so that they can arrest me,” Pacheco said.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, speaking to reporters late Friday evening, said there was no political pressure behind filing of the FIR against Pacheco and assured that he would not intervene in the matter.

“It is for each minister to decide on his actions. There is no interference. The investigations are free and fair,” Kamat said.

Additional district sessions judge Desmond D’Costa while granting the interim bail also directed that the next hearing be scheduled for Sep 23.

Pacheco has alleged that the complaint against him was a conspiracy by the Congress to malign the image of the NCP in the run up to the Maharashtra polls.

Pacheco has been named with 11 others for allegedly threatening the staff of Treasures casino in a FIR filed by the hotel staff. The alleged extortion occurred in June this year.