Panaji: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said he would ask convicted legislator Francisco Pacheco to formally clarify in Goa assembly that he was not hiding at his (Parrikar’s) official residence 10, Akbar Road in New Delhi while absconding for two months.
Speaking at during Bharatiya Janata Party workers’ meet near here, Parrikar asked Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, who was sharing the dais with him, to ensure that Pacheco, who is serving a six month sentence for assaulting a government servant, makes the statement in the ongoing state assembly session. But Parrikar, the former state chief minister, quickly added that he would also request Pacheco to do so to clear the air over the mystery. “Now you (Parsekar) have to enquire as to where he was. Definitely do it. The first question you (Parsekar) ask him is where were you (Pacheco) in those days. Make him say this in the assembly. I will request him,” Parrikar said.
The Goa cabinet on Wednesday already unanimously decided to forgive Pacheco, who has completed two months of his six-month prison term for the 2006 assault case. The decision to pardon the former archives and archaeology minister has already been sent to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha for ratification. On April 22, trial court judge Bosco Roberts had ordered for searching Parrikar’s New Delhi residence to trace the missing Pacheco. The order was issue after a petitioner, a lawyer-activist Aires Rodrigues, told the trial court that Pacheco was seen in the vicinity of the address in Delhi.
Pacheco, whose Goa Vikas Party is an alliance partner of the ruling BJP here, was on-the-run for nearly two months before being arrested last month. The state government appealed against the court order of issuing the search warrant and also managed to secure get a stay on the order on the same day.