Former Goa minister Pacheco surrenders before court
Pacheco, representing Nuvem constituency on Goa Vikas Party ticket, went missing after his conviction in an assault case was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The legislator was convicted for six months for slapping Electricity Department’s Junior Engineer Kapil Natekar, way back in 2006.
In a dramatic turn of events, the MLA who had to resign from the Rural Development ministry after being convicted, appeared at Judicial Magistrate First Class, Margao complex in a car today and walked to the court to surrender before the judge.
Dressed in his signature white clothes, the legislator looked nervous and tired as he walked up to the first floor.
The former minister appeared when the court was about to wind up work for the day.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices F M I Kalifulla and Shiva Kirti Singh in April had dismissed the special leave petition of Pacheco against the July 17, 2014 High Court verdict.
The Goa bench of the High Court had set aside the verdict of a revisional court, which had “brought down” the conviction of the MLA under Section 323 (causing hurt) from the harsher section 353 (assaulting public servant to deter from duty) under the IPC and instead of sentencing him, ordered his release on ‘admonition’ under the Probation of Offenders Act.
The High Court, which had given 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 1500 in the case.
The apex court, in July last year, had admitted the MLA’s SLP 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 of the government’s Electrical Department, against then minister Pacheco, alleging that he was abused and slapped by the lawmaker in his chamber.
Natekar was called to the minister’s office as a telephone call of the latter’s personal assistant was not attended for a day before the incident.
A court of Judicial Magistrate at Margao had convicted the lawmaker and sentenced him to one-year jail term and 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.
A revisional court brought down the conviction under milder section 323 of the IPC and allowed the convict to walk free on ‘admonition’ under Section 3 of Probation of Offenders Act. This was reversed by the High Court.