Goa’s Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza has made a startling statement in defense of former cabinet colleague Francisco Xavier Pacheco, who is presently in jail for assaulting a government official.
D’ Souza, while justifying his government’s controversial decision to seek a pardon for Pacheco, said slapping a government official is a “minor offence”.
“The cabinet has approved the release of Mickky (an alias for Pacheco). It is a pardon no. According to the list of offences in the IPC it is a minor offence,” D’Souza said.
D’Souza also said that the law has to be more reformative than punitive, especially in this case.
On Thursday, the Goa Governor Mridula Sinha had forwarded a mercy petition from former minister Pacheco to the cabinet. The Goa cabinet had then unanimously recommended that the Governor pardon Pacheco.
Pacheco, despite having served two months of his six-month sentence, has during the period also sought privileges given to MLAs, and took parole to attend the Assembly, submitting over a 100 questions in ‘public interest’ as a ‘people’s representative’.
For this, the former cabinet minister has come under severe criticism from activists and political opponents.
Activist Aires Rodrigues wrote to the Governor asking him to reject Pacheco’s plea on grounds of other criminal cases against him.
“This is a mockery of Justice. The government has recommended he be pardoned but has not told the Governor of the many criminal proceedings against him. He is a repeat offender of crime,” Rodrigues said.
Pacheco is also accused of abetting the suicide of his girlfriend. After the leader of BJP’s ally Goa Vikas Party was charged by the Supreme Court in March this year, he went missing and surrendered only on June 1.