Goa ‘examining’ pardon for convicted former minister

Panaji, July 5 (IANS) The Goa government is “examining” a request from the partner of former minister Francisco Pacheco, who is serving a six month sentence following his conviction in an assault case, seeking the latter’s pardon.

Chief Secretary R.K. Srivastava told IANS on the sidelines of a media function here on Saturday that he had received the application for pardon forwarded to his office by Goa Governor Mridula Sinha.

“We have received (the petition). I am examining it,” Srivastava told IANS, a day after the state Bharatiya Janata Party president Vinay Tendulkar rooted for a pardon for Pacheco, on grounds of good behaviour in prison.

The pardon application has been filed by Pacheco’s partner Viola, who has requested the governor to grant pardon to the former minister under article 161 of the constitution.

The article grants powers to the state governor to “grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends”.

Pacheco, a former archives and archaeology minister, whose party is part of the ruling BJP-led coalition government in Goa, was jailed on June 1 after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction in the 2006 case, in which Pacheco was accused of assaulting a government employee.

The minister is currently jailed at Sada sub jail in Vasco, located 40 km south of Panaji.

Besides the 2006 assault case, Pacheco is also being tried for a wide range of criminal cases which include culpable homicide, bigamy, assault and extortion.

Pacheco is also being probed for illegal trafficking and money laundering by the US government’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (BDS) and was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in this regard in 2010.

But despite the list of accusations and the conviction, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar wants Pacheco to attend the forthcoming session of the Goa legislative assembly.

“He represents a constituency which has 25,000 voters. He has to be in the assembly to place their grievances and problems before the forum,” Parsekar told IANS.

Meanwhile, even as Pacheco steps up his legal campaign to skip his prison sentence, an anonymously managed Facebook page “Free Mickky Pacheco” (Mickky is a popular alias for the former minister) which surfaced on Saturday has also caused a stir here.

The Facebook page claims that by serving one month in prison Pacheco has paid for the his crime and that it was time to set him free.

“Do you think Mickky Pacheco paid for his offence (one month in prison so far) or perhaps, you think one year imprisonment was too harsh for such not so serious offence (just one slap) or perhaps you think this is all politically motivated?” the post says.

 

 

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