This Article is From Jul 31, 2015

Goa Government Urges Governor to Pardon Convicted Legislator Francisco Pacheco

Goa Government Urges Governor to Pardon Convicted Legislator Francisco Pacheco

File Photo: Francisco Mickky Pacheco

Panaji: In what could be an unprecedented development, Goa's BJP-led government has resolved to grant pardon to convicted legislator Francisco Mickky Pacheco, who is serving a six-month sentence for assault.

Following a cabinet decision, a petition in this regard has been sent to Governor Mridula Sinha. It has been signed by 12 ministers, reported Indo-Asian News Service, quoting Deputy Chief Minister Francisco D'Souza.

"I have signed it. It has gone to the Governor," IANS quoted Mr D'Souza as saying.

The cabinet invoked Section 161 of the Constitution to justify the pardon - the section grants a Governor the power to pardon suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases.

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

Mr Pacheco has several other cases against him - the charges include extortion, assault, bigamy and money laundering.

Environment and Forests Minister Alina Saldanha said the cabinet decision was unanimously taken, reported IANS. "Everybody has signed it. It is now up to the Governor to decide," she was quoted as saying.

Asked if she agreed with the principle of pardoning a convict, she said "in principle, the law has to be upheld".

"But given the fact that he still continues to be the representative of the people of this constituency, he has certain responsibilities," she was quoted as saying.

Activist Aires Rodrigues, who has already petitioned Governor Mridula Sinha against granting pardon to Mr Pacheco, said the act of the cabinet amounted to "clear abuse of power".