Current Affairs

A Munch, A Happy Dent, A Gruesome Rape!

When I first heard about the Vasco rape, I was at wits end to understand how on earth does a person have the courage to commit the crime such as rape in a secured environment like a school. A stranger to the school will certainly be the last possibility, thereby leading me to believe that the rapist has to either be from the school or knows the school, its functioning and its surrounding very well.

Numerous interactions with the family of the rape survivor revealed that the rapist had not met the girl for the first time on the day of the incident. Four times before, the rapist has met the young girl and at one instance also gave her a Munch chocolate and a Happy Dent chewing gum. At one such time, the girl in the video made by friends of the family, identifies the person who had come along with the rapist on January 10 to the school as the head-mistress’s son. Though on the day of the incident, the head-mistress’s son is not present in school but is in Velim at the family’s ancestral house. Interestingly in court, the Public Prosecutor made a strong defense about the head-mistress’s son not being in Vasco on January 14 (the day of the rape) but conveniently eluded to explain Ashville Furtado’s whereabouts on January 10. If Ashville Furtado was indeed present in school on January 10 as expressed by the girl and was seen with the alleged rapist, then Ashville Furtado either can be looked at as an accomplice or a witness to identifying the rapist as the identity of the rapist would be most definitely known to him. However, this aspect of the police investigations is being loosely followed upon.

Till today the Crime Branch is pursuing the case as unknown suspects and has been pursuing two questionable theories; one – that the crime could have been committed by a migrant; and two – the rapist was alone in planning and executing the crime. To the first theory, let me draw your attention to a few details, the rapist wore smart, flashy clothes and had earrings and a small pony tail. This according to the girl’s description, he appearance from description did not indicate a labor class individual but a working class
or a stylish sophisticated youth. At all times he spoke to her in Hindi, even told her that he was a police. But, when he was in the Head-Mistress cabin (according to the girl’s declaration on the video tape, she saw the rapist in the head-mistress’s cabin two four days before the incident), he was speaking to the head-mistress Sharlet Furtado in English. The girl also adds that he was asking the head-mistress for some money and that she gave it to him.
Now the question that arises is whether the above description of the girl and the alleged connection with head-mistress indicate that the rapist could be a migrant labor class person or a known, stylish individual.
But post the rape incident, the Goa Police started rounding-up all possible suspects from the migrant population in around Vasco and Mormugao and started to question them (though at the initial stages you could say that it was the right thing to do, since the police themselves said that it was a blind case). But when during questioning, the staff teacher who took an unknown person who was loitering around to head-mistress, revealed that he was searching for Monty. The search for Monty began. Now besides the head-mistress’s son, we have the possibility of another person who knows the alleged rapist Monty and who was in school on the day of the incident. According to the staff-teacher, this boy was of a dark-complexion compared to the wheatish complexion of the rapist, and he was busy texting on his mobile phone.
This makes the police theory of a lone rapist completely defunct, since it is clearly evident that two other people know the rapist and are in school on different occasions with him.

When the photograph of Monty is shown to the child ( a photograph that a family friend brought to their notice and as revealed by the CM to the father that he had the same copies of photograph), as revealed by the family, the girl identifies ‘Monty’ the nephew of the head-mistress as the young man who raped her. But here is where the case, gets stuck at least on this premise, because all airports exits and entry into India from Dubai (where Monty lives) do not have any record of his entry into India or Goa. Police have told the court, that a letter from the Ministry of External Affairs show that his passport details reveal that he was not in India.
Nevertheless, now on account of the Children’s Court Order, the government has contacted Interpol to verify the whereabouts of Monty. So the suspicion on Monty cannot be overruled.

If Monty continues to be one of the main suspect, then should not his accomplices like Ashville Furtado or the dark-complexion young man with the mobile should also be questioned. Along with them the head-mistress, class teacher and head-clerk too for destruction of evidence.

In fact let me narrate an incident, in an attempt to catch ‘Monty’, the Crime Branch few weeks into the investigations caught a young man named ‘Mohanty’ and grilled him for many hours, even the DGP drove all the way to Vasco, on the belief that they had nabbed the culprit. They had to let go of ‘Mohanty’ after his family proved his whereabouts. Now if the Crime Branch can show such aggression on ‘Mohanty’, then what is stopping them from using the same tactics on the head-mistress or her son.

I am still trying to come to terms with the action of the Home Minister and Director General of Police, the rape incident has been handed over to the Crime Branch, but the negligence and destruction of evidence is handled by the local PI of the Harbour Police station. PI Suresh Gaonkar is investigating the negligence and destruction of evidence, when his police station is the complainant. More importantly, PI Gaonkar’s wife is a teacher in that school. And the first to know about the incident in the police department unofficially was PI Gaonkar. At that point of time post the incident, if he was aware of the facts, what stopped him from seizing the crucial evidence or preventing it from being destroyed. The destruction of evidence to any logical mind must be associated to the rape, since it links to a cover-up; whether to protect the school or rapist, is a matter of investigation but destruction of evidence willfully done is a crime in itself.

I am still to come to terms with the fact that the police took the girl for a medical examination at 6pm in the evening, when the incident happened at 10.35 in the morning and the police were on the crime site by 1.30pm.

But most disturbing of all on this incident has been the support of the people of Goa to the plight of this family. When a rape took place in Delhi, the entire India including the people of Goa arose to raise their voices against the crime. BJP Spokesperson Smriti Irani came specially to Goa to criticize the government at the Centre. But when she was down for the Jan Sampark Abhiyaan, after the Vasco rape, not a word was spoke on the Vasco rape. This dual standards from politicians is a known fact, even from those who come from at party with a difference. But what about the people of Goa, is the seven-year old girl not one of our daughters.

The people of Goa must make the CM hold the police accountable for failure to crack the case till now. The police officers who have not cracked the case must be taken to task or new officers brought into the case; as it appears that some of the police officers have been compromised.

I don’t believe that the Goa police can crack this case. That is not a question mark on their ability but their credibility. The rapist will only get caught when he attempts to commit the similar crime again. And all my analysis of his profile indicates that he has not committed this rape for the first-time and that he is a paedophile rapist.

I am also off the opinion that the school management must be held accountable for the incident. Four times an claimed unknown person comes to school, interacts with a child and finally rapes the child, and some quarters would like us to believe that the school management should not be made answerable.

This girl did not deserve this and every authority that should have protected her and now give her justice are the one’s failing her. And the child-rapist continues to be free…

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