Panaji: A day after a trial court issued a warrant to search Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's official residence in Delhi for "missing" convicted ex-Goa minister Francisco Pacheco, Art and Culture Minister Dayanand Mandrekar on Thursday suggested that Pacheco may have slipped outside Goa or escaped abroad.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event here organised by his ministry, Mandrekar also justified the limitations of the state machinery, including police, which has been unable to track down former Archives and Archaeology minister Pacheco, who has been dodging an arrest warrant following his conviction in an assault case for nearly a fortnight.
"Understand this, this person is not in Goa... If is on the run, he is abroad, then how much can Goa's machinery run after him," Mandrekar said even as Pacheco has been untraceable since April 10.
Mandrekar, however, added that his comments were unofficial in nature and that only Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar would be able to give a correct reply.
Pacheco, whose party is part of the ruling BJP-led coalition government in Goa, is on the run after his conviction in a 2006 assault case was upheld by the Supreme Court a month back.
On Wednesday, a trial court issued a warrant to search Parrikar's residence in New Delhi for Pacheco. The order, however, was stayed late on Wednesday following an appeal by the state government.
Parsekar now claims Pacheco, being an elected representative cannot stay hidden forever and would have to surface at some point, especially with state assembly elections just two years away.
"All I can say is he cannot stay hidden forever. (He) cannot stay hidden for the rest of his life. He is an elected representative, in two years there are elections he will have to come up," Mandrekar said.