PANAJI: Pardoning a convicted lawmaker's prison sentence for assaulting a government servant may embolden elected representatives to assault government servants in the future, the Goa Government Employees Association (GGEA) has said.
"Granting such a pardon will only embolden elected representatives to assault government servants in the future," GGEA president John Nazareth told IANS.
The state cabinet in an unprecedented and unanimous decision on Wednesday had resolved to grant pardon to Pacheco, a former archives and archaeology minister, who is currently serving a six month sentence for assaulting a junior engineer attached with the state electricity department.
The cabinet decision has been sent to the Goa Governor Mridula Sinha for assent.
Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza on Friday called Pacheco's crime a "minor offence" while justifying the cabinet's resolve to pardon him.
Nazareth said the government was "free to grant pardon if the Constitution permitted that option" but added that for the state cabinet to actually take the decision was "unfortunate".
Pacheco's party is part of the ruling BJP-led coalition government in Goa. He 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 legislator from Nuvem assembly constituency 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.