Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik on Wednesday appeared before Panaji Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Artikumari Naik as a witness in a cheating case filed against his alleged former staff Vinod Desai. In his deposition he denied that Mr. Desai was ever his staffer. In November last year, one Mervin Fernandes had initiated criminal proceedings against Vinod Desai after being duped on the promise of a government job. His lawyer Aires Rodrigues submitted in court that Mr. Desai, a resident of Old Goa, while flaunting his connection with politicians had duped hundreds of young job seekers to the tune of crores of rupees.Mr. Desai while claiming to be working for Shripad Naik had promised Mr. Fernandes a government job at the Goa State Secretariat on payment of ₹6 lakh and had taken an advance of ₹2 lakh. Having failed to secure the job Mr. Fernandes demanded a refund and Mr. Desai on June 28, 2017, issued him a cheque of ₹1 lakh as part refund, but it bounced.Subsequently, a cheating complaint was lodged at the Old Goa police station in North Goa against Mr. Desai and on being summoned he handed over a cheque of ₹3 lakh as full and final settlement but that cheque also bounced after which the Old Goa police on September 25, 2017, registered a cheating case against him under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code.On being summoned by the JMFC to testify and give material evidence on what he knew about the case, Mr. Naik said on Wednesday that he has known the accused for the last 10 to 15 years and he also sometimes used to visit his house. However, Mr. Naik said, Mr. Desai was never employed by him though his father worked for him. He further testified that his office on September 26 last year had written to the Old Goa police station that Mr. Desai was not on their staff.But another witness Sripad Bhosle in whose presence Mr. Fernandes had paid Mr. Desai the ₹2 lakh, testified in court to the contrary and said Mr. Desai was working for Mr. Naik at his Sao Pedro residence in North Goa.Mr. Bhosle also deposed that while promising his daughter a job in the State Fisheries department Mr. Desai had taken ₹1 lakh from him but had refunded the amount after his daughter did not get the job.