A court in Goa that acquitted former Goa Cricket Association (GCA) chief Dayanand Narvekar and eight others in the 2001 ODI ticket scam, has observed that the state government was functioning inefficiently to harass the accused who were facing trial for the last 21 years. Judicial magistrate first class, Margao, Santan Silva had on July 8 acquitted nine accused, including former GCA president Narvekar, in connection with printing fake tickets for a one-day international match between India and Australia at Margao in 2001.
In the detailed order made available on Wednesday, the court noted that despite it being an old matter (which was being taken up on priority basis), the court had gone out of its way to give the state a long rope. The judge observed that even after so many months, the state had not bothered to appoint a new special public prosecutor.
"Since officials of the state are apparently in slumber, in my view, the least the state could have done was to instruct any of its many public prosecutors and/or at least the assistant public prosecutor appearing before this court and make available the case papers to any one of them, the judge observed. The court further said that the state government had displayed complete inefficiency since March 10, 2022, when special public prosecutor Vinay Borkar wrote to the under secretary (establishment), giving notice of his withdrawal of appearance.
The court said it wondered if all this was done deliberately to harass the accused, who are facing trial for an extraordinary 21 long years. The court in its order also mentioned about the negligence of investigating officer Sachin Narvenkar, an inspector with the Margao police.
The inspector was well aware that this matter was more than two decades old and was being taken up on priority. Since the investigating officer had retired long ago, it was the inspector's responsibility to serve the witnesses, the court said. The judge also noted that on each occasion, the court had specifically directed that the summons to the witnesses must be served through the inspector and in-charge of the Margao Town police station.
Despite repeated and specific directions to the said inspector, not only were the witnesses not served, but the service report also never reached the court on time, the judge observed.