Goa's convicted ex-minister goes missing

Paji, April 12:  Until a fortnight ago Goa’s Cabinet Minister for Archives and Archaeology Francisco alias Mickky Pacheco drove to work a Hummer, an SUV which costs upwards of Rs.45 lakh. Sometimes he went work at the state secretariat riding on his customised Harley Davidson bike with a gleaming silver skull for a headlight guard. One simply could not miss him. But over the last few days, Pacheco is missing since he was forced to resign from the cabinet after the Supreme Court on March 30 upheld his sentence and guilt in an assault case involving a government servant.

No stranger to controversy, the until-recently-a-minister in the Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP) led coalition government is now on the run, with police even forming a special squad to track down the Nuvem legislator and the supremo of the Goa Vikas Party, whose two legislators - including Pacheco himself - are part of the ruling alliance.

“A look-out circular (LOC) has also been issued at all immigration checkposts,” said Superintendent of Police Shekhar Prabhudessai, who is heading a team of about half a dozen policemen, tasked with locating and serving the non-bailable arrest warrant on Pacheco. A decade back he was perhaps the first Goan minister to attend office wearing a banda around his head. Police sources said that a police team is being sent to Delhi to track down the missing minister, who over the last decade in politics, has been in the eye of one controversy after another. In the present case, Pacheco’s sentence to six months of imprisonment follows a complaint by Kapil tekar, a Goa government’s power department junior engineer, who accused Pacheco of assaulting him in 2006. Mickky Pacheco has a string of crimil cases against him, ranging from culpable homicide, bigamy, assault and extortion. He is also being probed for illegal trafficking and money laundering by the US government’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (BDS), and was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in this regard in 2010. In its complaint following inputs from the BDS, the CBI accused Pacheco and two other people, mely Pedro Antonio Joanes and Daniel Raymond Ferndes, of sending people abroad using forged documents. The complaint was filed under Sections 120-B, 420, 468 and 471 of the Indian Pel Code.  (IANS)

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