Goa Traffic Police – Hit, Run and Turn a Blind-Eye to Victim

Goa Police department has been at the receiving end of some serious allegations for its involvement in the drug trade, custodial death of Cipriano Fernandes and recently a police constable trying to rape a minor; GoaChronicle.com brings to you an episode of the insensitivity of the Goa police as narrated to us in a letter by a victim who was hit by a police recovery truck and left unattended with a promise of an ambulance. Finally the victim had to call a friend to take him to a nearby hospital. All this supposedly because the traffic police was busy with a VIP visit….

On August 13, 2011 at around 4.30 pm Michael F D’Souza left his residence to go to Vasco via Chicalim along with his son Nicholas A D’Souza. They were travelling on an Activa Scooter bearing Goa Registration Number – GA -08-B-6815.
When they reached the Goa Airport Junction, they had to stop on account of the traffic signal being red. In front on their Activa was Goa Police Recovery Truck bearing the Goa Registration Number GA – 07 – G-0317, driven by Ragoba Naik – an employee of the Goa Traffic Police, who was not dressed in the police uniform but civilian clothes.
As mentioned in his letter to GoaChronicle.com, Michael D’Souza stated, “When the signal turned green, the Police Recovery Truck moved forward towards the left direction heading towards Mangor road. Next I moved ahead and gave the right side indicator on my scooter as I was heading towards Chicalim – Vasco. To my surprise I saw the Goa Police Recovery Truck turn right sharply while I was beside it on the right side without any indicator signal or any hand signal by the driver.”                    

Furthermore D’Souza stated, “The Goa Police Recovery Truck’s rear right side wheel mud guard hit our scooter on the left side and due to the impact we lost our balance and were thrown down on the ground. My left leg which was on the footrest of the scooter came under the right rear tyre of the truck. Along with the scooter I was dragged by the truck for almost 2 meters.”

Michael D’Souza would have been dragged further had it not been his son’s presence of mind to immediately get-up from the site and run towards the driver of the Goa Police Recovery Truck to alert him to stop the vehicle and reverse the vehicle to avoid further dragging of Michael D’Souza leg. At this stage the driver – Ragoba Naik in a fit of arrogance and anger demanded to know what happened and reluctantly stopped and reversed the vehicle. Nicholas D’Souza believes that the vehicle driver was intoxicated as his eyes were red and he smelt of alcohol.

When the vehicle was reversed the bleeding leg which was under the rear tyre was released. Following which Ragoba Naik – the driver of the vehicle left the accident scene and the scooter as well as injured victim was left at the site of the accident.
The Police Officials who arrived at the site and assisted Michael D’Souza, assured him and his son, that they have already made arrangements for the ambulance of 108/PCR and they should be arriving anytime. After sometime the police officers are reported to have left the scene leaving the injured person and his family member in the hope that the police is in control of the situation and will ensure all the necessary support to assist Michael D’Souza.
However, after waiting for over fifteen minutes in an injured capacity, Michael D’Souza asked his son to call his friend Assiz Fernandes to bring a private car to take him to the nearest hospital as there was no sign of the 108 ambulance arriving. Michael D’Souza then got himself admitted to the SMRC (V M Salgaonkar Hospital) in Chicalim with a patient ID 30545. The police officers on the scene never returned neither did the ambulance that had been supposedly called arrive at accident site before Michael D’Souza along with his friend and son decided to go to the hospital on their own. At about 6.45 pm a good two hours after the accident Michael D’Souza had got himself admitted into the hospital without any assistance from the police.

But what is more surprising in the entire episode is that since the date of the accident till the discharge on August 26, 2011 from the hospital neither a First Information Report (FIR), nor Panchnama nor has a written statement been taken by the police authorities on this incident from Michael D’Souza.
Since the police authorities were not forthcoming to file a FIR or Panchnama on the incident, on August 29, Michael D’Souza wrote a complaint letter to the Vasco Police Station as well as the Vasco Traffic Police Cell stating the incident and failure of the traffic police department and Vasco Police in conducting any inquiry into the incident by either filing an FIR or Panchnama. Subsequently, on September 2, Michael D’Souza wrote yet another letter to the Vasco Traffic Police Department asking for a Certified Copy of the Panchnama, FIR and to also release his vehicle which had been impounded after the accident.
GoaChronicle.com spoke to the PI Vasco Traffic Police Dharmesh Angle, who stated, “We are aware of the incident and have asked the Vasco Police to investigate into the matter to determine if the accident was the fault of the victim or a team-member of the Vasco Traffic Cell. At this point of time, I would not be able to comment on the allegations that the driver – Ragoba Naik was intoxicated or driving the Goa Police Recovery Truck without a police uniform, since I was not physically present at the scene. On account of the VIP Bandobast (referring to the arrival of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and his subsequent travel to Raj Bhavan) in the area on that day, I could not personally attend to the matter, but I informed the Vasco Police to investigate into the matter and find out the truth behind the incident. I can confirm for sure that we have made a Panchnama of the incident and I have personally spoken to Michael D’Souza post the unfortunate incident. If it is found after the investigations that a member of the Vasco Traffic Police is indeed at fault then we will take stern and appropriate action against the individual.”

As on today, Michael D’Souza states that neither the Vasco Traffic Police nor the Vasco Police have got in touch with him to record his statement. But, he does confirm that PI Angle did call to ask about his welfare and if he needed any assistance.
Currently investigations are being conducted by the Vasco Police Station into the accident to determine whether it was it the fault of the scooter driver or the Goa Police Recovery Truck driver. But what cannot be denied is that investigations cannot overrule four facts;
1. Why did Ragoba Naik leave the accident site without completing all the mandatory formalities post the accident, whether he was at fault or not?
2. Why was Ragoba Naik driving the vehicle without a police uniform?
3. Why did the police authorities not ensure that the victim Michael D’Souza be taken to the hospital to tend to his injuries, failing which he had to get himself admitted to the SMRC hospital?
4. Why has the statement of Michael D’Souza not being recorded yet by the Vasco Police Department?

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