This Article is From Jul 03, 2010

Nadia case: Goa ex-Tourism Minister sent to judicial custody

Panaji: On the run for nearly a month, Goa's former Tourism Minister Fransisco Mickky Pacheco on Saturday surrendered before the Sessions Court in Margao in connection with the death of his friend Nadia Torrado. He has now been sent to judicial custody for the next two days.

Speaking to NDTV, Mickky Pacheco said, "I am trapped by political opponents. Nadia was just a close friend...I cross my heart and say I am innocent."

The NCP leader's anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the Supreme Court on July 1, leaving him with no other option but to give himself up. (Read:Supreme Court rejects Goa ex-minister Pacheco's bail plea)

He surrendered before the Sessions Court Judge U V Bakre this morning, minutes after his close aide Lyndon Monteiro, also booked in the case, appeared before the police responding to summons.

Lyndon has been granted anticipatory bail by the Supreme Court. (Watch:Pacheco and aide move Supreme Court for bail)

Torrado (28), described by the 46-year-old legislator as his "close friend", died on May 30, a fortnight after she allegedly consumed poison.

Crime Branch has booked Pacheco for abetment of suicide, while Monteiro, who was Officer on Special Duty (OSD), has been charged with destruction of evidence.

Pacheco resigned from the Cabinet on June 5, a day after he was quizzed by the Crime Branch for more than eight hours. Thereafter, he had gone missing.

The controversial lawmaker, through his lawyers, kept on trying for anticipatory bail moving from Sessions Court to High Court and then to Supreme Court, but failed in his attempt.

Police have kept a tight security around the Crime Branch office, where several of his supporters had gathered.

Meanwhile, Monteiro appeared before the Crime Branch almost a month after he went into hiding. The former OSD who also held key posts like Vice-Chairman of Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) reached Crime Branch office at around 10.30 am.

"I have full faith in the judiciary. I will provide all necessary cooperation required to investigate Nadia's death, which is actually a suicide," Monteiro said before appearing before the police.

Pacheco's aide, who was summoned on June 6, said he was not hiding but was at his residence at Verna, 25 kms from here. "I was busy approaching courts seeking anticipatory bail. Police came to my house only once when I was not there.

They never visited again," he claimed.

Denying the charge levelled by police, Monteiro said he was ready to provide all relevant information. "I do not want to comment on anything related to the case as the Supreme Court was still hearing my anticipatory bail plea which will come up again after three weeks," he said.