Goa’s Rural Development Minister Fransisco Miccky Pacheco, whose conviction for assaulting a government servant was upheld by the Supreme Court, resigned from the cabinet on Friday saying he did not want to cause further embarrassment to the BJP-led Government in the state.
Pacheco, belonging to Goa Vikas Party, said he had sent his resignation to the office of Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, now in Bangalore to attend BJP’s National Executive.
The Chief Minister’s office said Pacheco’s resignation was accepted and forwarded it to the Governor.
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Pacheco was inducted in state cabinet in November in 2014 after former chief minister Manohar Parrikar moved to the Centre as Defence minister.
Legislator from Nuvem segment, he also was in charge of Archaeology and Archives in the 12-member cabinet.
Pacheco ran into trouble after the Supreme Court dismissed his petition seeking stay on the conviction order by Goa Bench of Bombay High Court for slapping a government servant on duty in July 2006.
A Supreme Court bench comprising justices F M I Kalifulla and Shiva Kirti Singh this week dismissed the special leave petition of Pacheco against the July 17, 2014 High Court verdict.
As per the order, he will have to undergo six months imprisonment.
The Goa bench of the High Court had set aside the verdict of a revisional court, which “brought down” the conviction of the MLA under IPC section 323 (causing hurt) from the harsher section 353 (assaulting public servant to deter from duty) and ordered his release on ‘admonition’ under the Probation of Offenders Act.
The High Court, which gave two weeks time to the MLA to surrender, had upheld the decision of a lower appellate court to award him a jail term of six months, besides a fine of Rs 1,500 in the case.
The apex court, in July 2014, admitted his Special Leave Petition for hearing and exempted him from the surrender to undergo imprisonment.
An FIR was lodged on July 15, 2006 by Kapil Natekar, a junior engineer with state electrical department, alleging that he was abused and slapped by Pacheco in his chamber.
Natekar was called to the minister’s office as a telephone call of the latter’s personal assistant was not attended a day before the incident.
A Magistrate court at Margao had convicted Pacheco and sentenced him to one-year jail term and slapped a fine of Rs 5,000.
However, an appellate court partly allowed the appeal of the MLA and reduced the jail term to 6 months and the fine to Rs 1,500.
Later, a revisional court brought down the conviction under milder IPC section 323 (causing hurt) and allowed Pacheco to walk free on ‘admonition’ under Section 3 of Probation of Offenders Act. This was reversed by High Court.
This is for the second time that Pacheco had to end his tenure half way, the first time being during erstwhile Congress-led government where he had to resign from the cabinet after his friend Nadia Torraddo committed suicide.
Pacheco, who had earlier resigned on June 5, 2010, was held responsible for her death in the police case filed against him.
The GVP chief was then state tourism minister and was elected on Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ticket.
The 28-year-old girl had died in Chennai after consuming rat poison. Pacheco was also arrested by police after absconding for almost one month.
The crime branch which was investigating the case had recently closed it as there was no evidence against Pacheco.
The legislator, who shifted from Benaulim to Nuvem constituency during 2012 Goa Legislative Assembly election, had supported BJP-led government in the state, but had remained out of the cabinet.
However, luck favoured Pacheco, when then chief minister Parrikar resigned after he was elevated as the Union Defence Minister.
The 12-member-cabinet was dissolved and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had inducted Pacheco allotting him portfolios of Rural Development Agency and Archives and Archaeology.