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Goa mulls pardon for minister convicted in assault case, under probe for money laundering, trafficking
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)
Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.
According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: crypto wallets, BadgerDAO, decentralised finance, Blockchain, 120 million, crypto tokens, Hackers)
A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."
Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.
Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Rajasthan, December 9, Vicky Kaushal, Katrina Kaif, film stars, celebrities, Bollywood, Katrina-Vicky)
The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash
The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG - Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium - to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bengaluru team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two Covid-19 infected individuals.
They hope this will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Prof Satyajit Mayor from the NCBS conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Indian government released a statement on December 2, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, the NCBS said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Situation, NCBS, Omicron)