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Bigamy, extortion, assault – a minister’s notoriety in Goa

Panaji, June 1 (Calcutta Tube) From charges of bigamy to extortion to assault – controversial Goa Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco’s repeated brushes with the law have painted him in a range of unflattering colours of notoriety.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator, who personally drives a heavy-duty Hummer H2 Geiger to work at the state secretariat, is currently in the eye of yet another controversy after his alleged lover Nadia Torreado died at a Chennai hospital Sunday, 15 days after she consumed rat poison.

Even as women activists and the opposition have started collectively asking for Pacheco’s expulsion from the cabinet in order to facilitate an impartial probe into the mysterious poisoning and subsequent death of the 28-year-old woman — whom the minister has called a ‘family friend’, controversy itself continues to be the permanent handmaiden of this off-and-on bandana-and-goatee sporting minister.

The 46-year-old minister, who started off as an humble tailor with a reputation for stitching exquisite wedding gowns (his official resume still mentions fashion designing as his favourite pastime/recreation), had skirted controversy in January last year while battling accusations of bigamy from his first wife Sara.

Accused of bigamy by Sara, Pacheco at a press conference had justified his relationship with his new live-in girlfriend Viola, saying: ‘You prove that I am married twice and I will step down from the ministry. I am married only once, to Sara. I can have as many women as I want.’

The feisty minister, who’s a stand-out figure in the Congress-led coalition cabinet for his chest-and-biceps-hugging T-shirts and other colourfully bold attires, attracted the ire of the NCP high command for this insensitive comment, but Pacheco created an even bigger splash later that year by calling Goa the ‘rape capital of India’.

Controversial statements are unfortunately not the Benaulim legislator’s only handicap.

In 2002, in a case of road rage Pacheco assaulted a driver of a state corporation bus on duty. While the driver filed a first information report (FIR) with the police, the minister argued that he was only ‘trying to correct the rash driver’.

Pacheco once again courted controversy last year when a traffic police constable complained to the local police that the minister had abused and threatened him when he was on duty in Margao, a town in south Goa, 35 km from here.

The list of offences filed against Pacheco do not end with accusations of crunching fists and abuse-hurling.

The management of Treasures, a land-based casino, in June last year accused Pacheco of extorting several lakh rupees from them.

The minister’s reputation didn’t exactly soar after the casino management also leaked videos of him throwing thick wads of money on the casino’s gaming tables and assaulting one of the casino’s dealers after an altercation.

An FIR against Pacheco was subsequently filed by the casino management with the Crime Branch, which is investigating the case.

The minister, in his defence, accused the casino management of duping him.

Pacheco’s pet possession, the bulky Hummer in which he drives to work, has also not escaped a brush with law, only this time it was enforcement officers of the state transport department, who complained that he had not registered the luxury vehicle.

Pacheco, whose educational qualification is Class 11 pass according to his official resume, had randomly chosen the number ’12’ and painted it on his number plate, reportedly because he was born Dec 12.

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