- Gone with the wind
Gone with the wind
The case against the 52 accused charge sheeted for rioting on the O’Coqueiro circle, Porvorim may be delayed due to the disappearance of 19 of the accused. Vibha Verma spoke to various parties and throws light on the shocking state of affairs
The case registered against the fifty two accused by the Porvorim police station following the very public attack by Nigerians following the death of one of their colleagues has taken a hit. With 19 of the African nationals missing there is a very serious possibility it could obstruct the commencement of the trial. The case is before the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) and the incomplete personal details is making it difficult for the authorities concerned to track them down.
The fate of the case hangs in the balance after 17 months since the Porvorim police team filed a charge sheet against 51 Nigerians and one Ghana national for the serious offense charges are yet to be framed against them.
Sources revealed that without presence of all the charge sheeted accused in the court, the procedure could be prolonged even further thus affecting the trial. For the accused, it was initially photocopies of FIR that acted as an alternate to passport/visas (which many did not posses) to move around the state freely, some also took undue advantage by escaping from here.
“Over four years after the incident, we are looking out for the same accused to produce them in the court. Every possible effort is underway to trace them, but at the moment, their absence has almost stalled the pre-trial proceedings. We don’t know how long it will take,” said a senior official wishing anonymity.
During the early morning hours of October 31, 2013; around 200 Africans blocked the Mapusa-Panjim National Highway running through Porvorim after ransacking the police hearse van that was carrying the body of their compatriot Obodo Uzoma Simeon near the O’Coqueiro circle, Porvorim. The police had not anticipated the situation would turn from bad to worst even after the mob had initially stopped the police from lifting the brutally bruised body from Parra village.
They not only forcibly removed the body out of the hearse van that was on its way to Goa Medical College and Hospital for postmortem but also dared to lay it in the middle of the junction, halting vehicular traffic. Police had to resort to lathi charge after they refused to budge and instead clashed with the men-in-khaki.
Among the rioters, 52 were arrested and thereafter charge sheeted. However, in what could be a major setback for the police department during the court of investigation; a majority of the accused either did not have passport details or had failed to provide their hometown addresses.
Herald had exclusive information wherein many Nigerian accused did not provide their personal details to the then investigation team, after their arrest. While some did not mention their birth date, month and year; others did not have their passport number/date of issue/place of issue and nearly all did not place on record their native addresses. Goa Police have now found themselves in a tight spot in view of these crucial missing links. “In absence of these important details, it is difficult to track them down. Nevertheless, no stone is left unturned to trace their whereabouts. The respective units of Goa Police is in constant touch with the Indian and international authorities to get the absconding accused back,” said an officer citing the general trend wherein foreign nationals (though not all) give fake details to the police.
“We can book them for overstaying/illegal stay or forged visa/passport, or other relevant offenses. Once the detention-cum-deportation centre is in place, all such accused will be lodged there and deported back to their country without any waste of time,” he added.