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Curchorem man arrested for desecrations

16 Jul 2017 06:42am IST

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16 Jul 2017 06:42am IST

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Team Herald

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Police kept vigil on Francis Pereira and nabbed him early Saturday morning; Suspect admits to vandalising crosses

MARGAO/CURCHOREM: In an early morning operation, Curchorem Police swooped down on one Francis Xavier Pereira (50) resident of Morailem, Curchorem, and arrested him for desecrating and vandalising tombs, niches and crosses at various places across Goa.

The issue, which was threatening to disturb the communal disharmony in the State, has now been cracked, police said.

Suspecting Pereira’s involvement in the desecrations, police kept vigil on his movements and nabbed him at around 3 am on Saturday when he was returning home from an unknown destination. At 7.45 am police took Pereira to his residence and recovered the tools used for the desecrations.

Police said Pereira has admitted vandalising around 150 structures around the State during the last 15 years. Even after the arrested Pereira smiled and greeted the people he saw and met at the police station.

It is learnt that a special team comprising Traffic Cell PI Ravindra Dessai, constable Vishal Vhuimber and Avinash Naik, under the guidance of SP Gawas played a vital role in nabbing Pereira, popularly known as ‘Boy Francis’.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, TCP & Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai and Curchorem MLA Nilesh Cabral rushed to Curchorem police station on Saturday and took stock of the investigations. Parrikar has confirmed that the circumstantial evidence is enough to point to Pereira as the accused. He confirmed that the accused has been operating very intelligently and congratulated the Police for solving such a difficult case. They later visited the cemetery along with Director General of Police Muktesh Chander, SP Arvind Gawas, DySP Raju Raut Dessai and PI Shivram Vaingankar.

Congratulating the police investigating team, Sardesai said that it is a case among cases which was very difficult to detect. “My stand has been vindicated. The confidence and faith of the government on the police proved right as finally Goa Police have solved the case by using local intelligence.”

Pereira had unsuccessfully contested the Curchorem-Cacora Municipal Council election in 2000 and after his defeat had attempted to murder some residents from Curchorem for which he was convicted and lodged at Sada jail, Mormugao for three years.

“The accused has admitted having desecrated the structures and also confessed he had plans to desecrate more religious structures,” Chander told the media. The DGP said the vehicle used by the accused has been seized and the hammer used for desecration also recovered.

Further investigations revealed that Pereira also failed in an earlier attempt to desecrate the Shivaji statue at Curchorem circle.

The DGP said the accused is an educated person, a keen reader of newspapers and has been writing petitions to different authorities on various issues.

“He revealed during interrogation how he has been able to avoid getting caught and how he cut the cables of CCTV cameras which shows his cleverness on committing the crimes,” Chander added.

He congratulated the team and other police, saying cases like these come up once in a while and solving them makes them proud of their job and compared it similar to solving the Arushi Talwar case.

SP South Arvind Gawas said this is the biggest and longest running case of desecration and nabbing the culprit solves over 150 cases of religious desecration since 2003.

“We can’t call him mentally unstable since the way he has been doing the desecrations suggests a proper planning and plotting and also keeping an eye on police activity,” Gawas added.

Pereira had earlier attempted to murder a person named Bhende and another from Khamamol in Curchorem and was convicted in the case. Bhende, who was shot at by Pereira still has the metal remains of the gun shot in his head.



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