Police ineptitude was once again highlighted when the North Goa District and Sessions Court on Tuesday acquitted Mahanand Naik in two murder cases giving him the “benefit of doubt’.
With acquittals in charges of murdering Darshana Naik in 1994 and Sunita Gaonkar in 2003, Mahanand stands acquitted in seven of the 18 murder cases slapped against him by the police.
The police had charged him of murdering 21-year-old Darshana on 27th September 1994 after taking her with him to visit a patient at Goa Medical College, Bambolim. Police claimed that Mahanand took Darshana to an isolated spot and strangulated her with her dupatta and afterwards hung her from a cashew tree.
Incidentally, this case was supposed to be the first murder by Mahanand whom the police accused of killing 18 girls between 1994 and 2009.
The second case was that of 31-year-old Sunita who the police claimed was taken by Mahanand to a cashew plantation at Surla in Bicholim and killed in the same manner as was done with Darshana. However, in this case, the body was Sunita was never found.
Mahanand was represented by Advocate Mariano D’Souza.
However, Mahanand has been sentenced to seven-year imprisonment as he has been found guilty of raping his wife’s friend.