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Goa mulls pardon for minister convicted in assault case, under probe for money laundering, trafficking

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Goa government is “examining” a request from the partner of former minister Francisco Pacheco, who is serving a six month sentence following his conviction in an assault case, seeking the latter’s pardon.

Chief Secretary R.K. Srivastava told IANS on the sidelines of a media function here on Saturday that he had received the application for pardon forwarded to his office by Goa Governor Mridula Sinha.

“We have received (the petition). I am examining it,” Srivastava told IANS, a day after the state Bharatiya Janata Party president Vinay Tendulkar rooted for a pardon for Pacheco, on grounds of good behaviour in prison.

The pardon application has been filed by Pacheco’s partner Viola, who has requested the governor to grant pardon to the former minister under article 161 of the constitution.

The article grants powers to the state governor to “grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends”.

Pacheco, a former archives and archaeology minister, whose party is part of the ruling BJP-led coalition government in Goa, was jailed on June 1 after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction in the 2006 case, in which Pacheco was accused of assaulting a government employee.

The minister is currently jailed at Sada sub jail in Vasco, located 40 km south of Panaji.

Besides the 2006 assault case, Pacheco is also being tried for a wide range of criminal cases which include culpable homicide, bigamy, assault and extortion.

Pacheco is also being probed for illegal trafficking and money laundering by the US government’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (BDS) and was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in this regard in 2010.

But despite the list of accusations and the conviction, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar wants Pacheco to attend the forthcoming session of the Goa legislative assembly.

“He represents a constituency which has 25,000 voters. He has to be in the assembly to place their grievances and problems before the forum,” Parsekar told IANS.

Meanwhile, even as Pacheco steps up his legal campaign to skip his prison sentence, an anonymously managed Facebook page “Free Mickky Pacheco” (Mickky is a popular alias for the former minister) which surfaced on Saturday has also caused a stir here.

The Facebook page claims that by serving one month in prison Pacheco has paid for the his crime and that it was time to set him free.

“Do you think Mickky Pacheco paid for his offence (one month in prison so far) or perhaps, you think one year imprisonment was too harsh for such not so serious offence (just one slap) or perhaps you think this is all politically motivated?” the post says.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Portuguese-era bridges will be audited: Goa PWD Minister Sudin Dhavalikar

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Portuguese-era bridges collapsed on Thursday evening at Curchorem, 45 km from Panaji.

Panaji, May 20, 2017: “All Portuguese-era bridges will be audited for their load-bearing capacity,” said Goa’s Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar on Friday.

Dhavalikar’s announcement came a day after three persons were killed when a dilapidated foot overbridge on the Sanvordem river in Curchorem village collapsed.

“We will have to do an audit to ensure that such incidents are not repeated,” Dhavalikar told reporters here.

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The bridge was old and was therefore, not used for vehicles. Only pedestrians were allowed to use the bridge.

Over 50 persons fell into the river on Thursday evening at Curchorem, 45 km from Panaji, when the bridge collapsed. While most managed to swim to safety, three persons drowned. At least three people have died and 30 others are missing. (IANS)

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Goa’s only Woman Chief Minister Shashikala Kakodkar passes away at 81

Shashikala Kakodkar was appointed the Chief Minister of Goa, then a Union Territory, in 1973 after the death of her father Dayanand Bandodkar

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Goa's only woman Chief Minister Shashikala Kakodkar. Flickr

Panaji, October 28, 2016: Goa’s second Chief Minister and the only woman to hold that post so far, Shashikala Kakodkar, died on Friday in Panaji, after a prolonged illness.

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Kakodkar, 81, was appointed the Chief Minister of Goa, then a Union Territory, in 1973 after the death of her father Dayanand Bandodkar, who was the CM then.

In 1977, she led her Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party to victory but was ousted from chief ministership in 1979, following a coup from within the party.

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Commenting on her demise, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said that Kakodkar, who was popularly referred to as Tai, was a visionary and known for her frank opinion. She continued to be passionate about politics and social issues despite her advancing age, he said.

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“She was always available for guidance. I have gone to her on numerous occasions to seek her suggestions on various issues. She will be known as a visionary and for her frankness,” Parsekar said. (IANS)

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Time-warped Goa village to celebrate a unique traditional delicacy, patoli on Independence Day

Village of Socorro is located in a valley that is around 10 km from capital Panaji

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Patoli. Image source: goatrons.com

Socorro, August 14, 2016: On Independence Day that falls on August 15, a tiny village in Goa will not only celebrate the country’s freedom with fervour and zeal but will also honour the patoli, an unsung, delicious, time-warped local dessert, served delicately wrapped in turmeric leaf.

The Socorro Socio Art and Cultural Association has been using the aegis of Independence Day to promote the patoli, a unique and traditional delicacy, which is cooked in both Hindu and Christian homes on festive occasions, especially during the monsoon, when fresh turmeric leaves are available in plenty.

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Located in a valley around 10 km from capital Panaji, the village of Socorro is actually just a short distance from the bustling National Highway 17, but in reality, with its green fields, foliage and traditional Goan homes, the village could well be stuck in a past era.

Marius Fernandes, who has been the soul and strength behind the Patolleanche fest (festival of the patolli), says the success of the festival proves that without sponsorship, alcohol, chief guest and plastic, an event driven by genuine passion can still be a success today.

Patollio, a delicacy in Goa. Image source: minifoodescapades.wordpress.com
Patilo, a delicacy in Goa. Image source: minifoodescapades.wordpress.com

“It’s basically three festivals rolled in one. At 9 a.m., the feast of Our Lady of Assumption is celebrated at the Our Lady of Socorro Church followed by an Independence Day programme by Our Lady of Succour primary school, also in Socorro. As we do not have to wait for a chief guest, we start with the Patolleanche Fest exactly at 11 a.m.,” Fernandes tells IANS.

“We also have some basic rules and aims for our festivals, like there is no chief guest, no sponsors, no prizes, no competition, no plastics and no alcohol. The aim of our festival is to empower women and children. Our festival caters to over 1,500 people, so villagers form groups in the seven vaddos (wards) of Socorro to take up the responsibility of buying, cooking and sharing cooking recipes,” says Fernandes, who prefers to be called a cultural activist.

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The star of the event is obviously the patolli.

The ingredients required are all earthy and available in Goa, especially during the monsoon. There’s grated coconut, coconut jaggery, cardamom, salt to taste, rice and, of course, turmeric leaves.

The rice is first boiled and kneaded into a paste and smeared on the turmeric leaf, the rest of the ingredients are boiled in a little water until the stuffing is cooked. It is then wrapped into the turmeric leaf and steamed for around 20 minutes.

When it’s time to eat, one simply strips the turmeric leaf off and bites into the patolli.

While for Hindus a patoli is the dish-of-the-day during Nag Panchami, for the Christians it is the flavour of the day during the feast of Our Lady of Assumption.

But Independence Day in Socorro is not just about gobbling down the delightful patolis. There’s more to it.

“This year’s menu will include local Goan rice, bhende (okra) curry, fish kismur (a dish made from dry fish and grated coconut), mango pickles and like served on a patraval (leaf plate) besides sannas (idlis fermented with toddy) and pez (rice water) which will be served in kotteio’s (coconut shells). We try and be as eco-friendly as possible,” Fernandes says, adding that the venue will be decorated with recycled material and cloth flags.

“We have been using the same material and flags for the last five years. Our festival has created a great deal of interest and sometimes we are invited to share our ideas.” (IANS)

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