Ex-Goa CM gets bail in ticket scandal

Published: Friday, April 27, 2001, 19:07 [IST]
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-seat Fatorda Stadium, some 25 km south of here.

Goa's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made the most of this case to embarrass Narvekar, a prominent politician closely involved in the toppling of a number of governments in the state.

The case has attracted widespread public attention in the state, with prominent newspapers fuelling the interest with daily stories with banner headlines and photographs of the crowds gathered outside the court.

Mid-week, when a verdict on the case was due, supporters of the GCA officials took a brass band, ostensibly to celebrate an expected judgment favoring Narvekar. But this upset the court, with Justice B H Marlapalle admonishing Narvekar's lawyer for seeking to make a "political turf" out of the judiciary.

The bail applicants were also cautioned that if they participated in any felicitation or celebration, the bail orders could be cancelled.

Politics has, over the years, got closely intertwined with the functioning of sporting bodies in Goa. Narvekar took over the GCA following a bitterly contested battle with a rival panel headed by a prominent local industrialist.

Narvekar has said nothing so far indicated GCA's involvement in the fake tickets scandal and alleged that the state government was targeting the association officials. Using cricketing analogy, he charged the BJP government with delivering him a "short-pitched delivery" which had been termed a "no ball" by the umpire, but he had nonetheless defended it with a "straight bat".

Narvekar complained that for the first time in his career he was suffering from high blood pressure due to the strain caused by the case and announced plans to keep off politics for a month.

The high-profile former Congress Party member was one of the rebels who helped a BJP-dominated coalition to come to power in Goa in late 1999. Earlier this year he was expected to return to the Congress Party. But that was apparently put off even before the fake tickets scandal broke.

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