Goa tourism minister accused of assaulting casino dealers

June 19th, 2009 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Panaji, June 19 (IANS) Goa’s Tourism Minister Francisco Pacheco along with an aide have been accused of threatening and criminally intimidating the management of a casino. Pacheco’s actions have prompted the leader of the opposition Manohar Parrikar to demand that the minister be sacked from the state cabinet.
Addressing a press conference Friday, Parrikar said the state government should also probe how Pacheco, who already has several criminal cases against him, including a charge-sheet for assaulting a government servant, gambled crores of rupees at a mechanized casino.

Earlier on Thursday, Pacheco’s aide was arrested for threatening the management at Treasures, a licensed casino operating at the Majorda beach resort located in south Goa.

Pacheco accused the management of Treasures of not paying him his gambling winnings (Rs 1.25 crores) between May 15 to May 22 this year.

Parrikar said that “The CCTV footage shows Pacheco not only grabbing the throats of casino dealers to intimidate them, but also throwing bundles of notes before a dealer on the gaming board. Along with Pacheco, the onshore casino at the Majorda beach resort must also be booked for allowed non-mechanised gambling.”

The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former chief minister also alleged that a fourth of the Congress-led alliance government consisted of prolific gamblers.

“This is a cabinet of criminals. There are two other ministers in the government who spend most of their time at these casinos, I will declare their names later,” he said.

The BJP also demanded that Goans be barred from entering the onshore as well as offshore casinos considering their social repercussions.

“Hundreds of families have already been ruined by these casinos. We are against this industry. The casinos, both onshore and offshore need to be booted out of Goa,” Parrikar said.

Accusing Home Minister Ravi Naik of indulging in large-scale corruption while giving licenses to offshore casinos, Parrikar said that he had documentary evidence to prove that the casino operators were given licenses in less than 24 hours.

“In three out of the seven cases even the documentation is incomplete,” Parrikar charged.

There was no immediate reaction from Pacheco or his office to the charges.

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