Goa CM ducks queries on ‘missing’ minister

Panaji : Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Friday dodged queries about the inability of the authorities to locate former archives and archaeology minister Francisco alias Mickky Pacheco, even as the local police moved a trial court seeking that the minister be declared an absconder.

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, Parsekar observed that mysterious text messages in circulation about alleged misdemeanours by a cabinet minister were casting doubts over his entire 12-member ministerial council and said that such insinuations were being considered as a “serious” matter.

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Earlier, Parsekar admitted that Pacheco, whose conviction in a 2006 assault case was upheld by the Supreme Court of India last month, was not traceable by the police.

“That he is not traceable is right. Everyone is equal before law and, therefore, law will play its role. If he was a minister now, it would have been a different case, he may have had some kind of protection. Since he has been relieved (of ministership), the law should follow its course. I would not interfere,” Parsekar said.

Officials of the Colva police station in south Goa have already moved a local trial court seeking proclamation of Pacheco, chief of the ruling coalition partner Goa Vikas Party, as an absconder after they were unable to serve the warrant of arrest on him for seven days.

The Judicial Magistrate First Class (Margao) last week directed Goa police to execute the warrant of arrest within seven days and take Pacheco in custody.

Pacheco faces six months’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs.1,500 for assaulting a junior engineer of the state electricity department in 2006.

Asked if the Bharatiya Janata Party, which leads the coalition government in Goa, would continue to accept support of GVP, especially after its supremo Pacheco is declared an absconder, Parsekar said: “Why do you want it from my mouth. You can interpret as you want. I would not like to comment.”

Parsekar also expressed concern about levelling vague charges via SMS against a minister of his cabinet, even as text messages in circulation of late allege sexual exploitation of a widow by a member of the state cabinet.

As a result, all the male members of cabinet were under the shadow of suspicion.

“If someone has a doubt he should be named. Out of 12 ministers, one is a poor woman that means there are 11. It is not right to comment on everyone. It is very serious. If someone has documents, he should come in the open. This is bad and serious, I would say,” Parsekar said.