Goa minister under cloud after alleged partner dies

Panaji, May 31 (IANS) Goa’s Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco, who faces charges of bigamy, has been dragged into controversy again after a 28-year-old woman, allegedly his third partner, died at a Chennai hospital.

Women activists and the opposition have demanded a thorough probe into the death of Nadia Torreado in Chennai Sunday, 15 days after she consumed rat poison.

‘It is not mere suicide. Nadia’s case should be investigated as murder,’ Tara Kerkar, an activist based in south Goa, told IANS.

‘She was later shifted to a clinic in Mumbai and then to Chennai by the minister who wanted to treat her secretly, fearing consequences if her consumption of poison became public,’ Kerkar has alleged.

‘We want the police to investigate this case as a murder because no proper care was taken when she was being shifted to different hospitals across the country,’ Kerkar further said.

Women’s groups have demanded that Chief Minister Digambar Kamat hold a formal inquiry into the suspicious death and make the report public within two days.

Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar has also joined the chorus asking for a thorough probe into the death of the 28-year-old woman.

‘The death should be investigated thoroughly. What is this government coming to?’ Parrikar told IANS.

When asked for his comment, Pacheco, a leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), only said: ‘It is a very unfortunate incident. The deceased was a friend of the family. It is a sad day’.

When asked to comment on allegations that medical negligence caused by his repeated shifting of Torreado from one hospital to another could have resulted in her death, Pacheco said: ‘We acted strictly on medical advice so that she could get the best of health. The allegations are politically motivated’.

Sources said Torreado, who was admitted to a nursing home in Mumbai prior to being shifted to Chennai, has already told a special executive magistrate that she consumed the poison ‘by mistake’.

Records at the Apollo Victor Hospital in Margao, where she was admitted initially , state that Torreado had consumed an entire tube of the poisonous paste meant to kill rodents.

Pacheco, a controversial minister, has been accused of bigamy by his first wife Sara. The case is in the trial stage.