Tainted Goa PP's charmed run ends

Tainted Goa PP's charmed run ends

Public Prosecutor Winnie Coutinho dined with judges and specialised in out-of-court settlements.

A tainted public prosecutor in Goa almost got there, except for a persistent activist-lawyer who managed to cut short her relentless bid for more power.

On the insistence of Governor S S Sidhu, the Goa government late on Friday asked controversial Public Prosecutor Winnie Coutinho to resign from her post, two years after she had been sacked by the state’s chief secretary following allegations of corruption.

In an order dated February 14, 2008, the then chief secretary J P Singh said he was terminating Coutinho’s services “in the public interest” both for her incompetence and financial impropriety.

Though the order was endorsed by Home Minister Ravi Naik and Chief Minister Digmabar Kamat, the well-connected PP stalled the dismissal for two years, and prospered financially in the process, representing the government even in the high court, says lawyer Aires Rodrigues who obtained documents under the RTI Act that sealed her fate.

Rodrigues who had been working on Coutinho’s case for two years went into overdrive when he was tipped off about her possible elevation to a judicial position.

Divorced, ruthlessly ambitious, and a compulsive name-dropper, Coutinho blazed a trail through the legal fraternity clouded by rumours of out-of-court deals and dinner dates with judges.

In December 2008 she signed up for a business partnership with Fr Oscar Quadros for a tour and travel agency called Wilwin Travels (the partnership documents are with Deccan Herald).

Fr Quadros, who is attached to the Clergy Home, Provorim, is now being investigated by the Church.

In a letter to lawyer Rodrigues Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao said action would be initiated against the priest in accordance with church norms.

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