Probe demanded as Goa minister’s ‘partner’ dies of poisoning

Panaji, May 31 (IANS) Woman activists and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa Monday demanded a probe into the death of a woman, allegedly the third partner of Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco, after consuming rat poison. The minister termed the allegations as ‘politically motivated’.

Nadia Torreado, 28, died in Chennai Sunday, 15 days after she consumed the poison. The BJP also alleged the woman was raped before being poisoned and sought the minister’s resignation.

‘From what we have gathered from the information available to us, the girl was raped and then was forced to consume poison. The minister concerned should immediately resign from the cabinet or should be dropped to ensure a fair enquiry,’ BJP spokesman Rajendra Arlekar said.

Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar also sought a thorough probe into the death of Torreado.

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

According to woman activist Tara Kerkar, the death was ‘not mere suicide. Nadia’s case should be investigated as murder’.

‘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 told IANS.

‘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.

Asked for his response, 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.’

To 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 treatment. 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 a poisonous paste meant to kill rodents.

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