Goa CM’s office to monitor activist ex-priest’s murder

Panaji : Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said on Thursday that his office would monitor the police investigation into the mysterious death of activist and former priest Bismarque Dias, as a senior police official said no material was on record yet to suggest he was murdered.

“It (investigation) is being monitored by my office. I assure of fullest cooperation and assistance from my government in this matter,” Parsekar told reporters a day after he met a delegation of family and friends of Dias at the state secretariat here.

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The chief minister also promised to expedite the forensic analysis of Dias’ viscera, which police said would help in ascertaining whether the death was natural or not.

The body of Dias – who led a string of agitations against controversial real estate projects across Goa – was found on November 7 along the Mandovi river, leading to protests across the state by civil society outfits and the Opposition.

Addressing a press conference at police headquarters in Panaji, Deputy Inspector General of Police N.A. Renganathan said police were investigating the case with an “open mind”, adding there was nothing on record to suggest that Dias was murdered.

“We have not registered it as a murder yet, but we are investigating it with an open mind. All leads which are coming to us are being examined,” Renganathan said.

Dias’ kin and opposition parties demanded a more focused investigation into the death, while ruling Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Vishnu Wagh demanded a probe by a special investigation team.

Dias had protested against land intensive projects, including a new greenfield airport, a golf course and an electronic city conceived by the state government in Tuem, 45 km from Panaji.