Rahul Barua who besides being the secretary general of the South Asia Foundation is also responsible for bringing the South Asian Film Festival to Goa was staying at the Vivanta, Panjim. He along with his lady colleague who is the director-projects (India and Nepal) of the South Asia Foundation decided to go towards Panjim for dinner around 10pm in the night. So they hired a three-wheeler and got off at Espynick Restaurant next to Magsons Supermarket, near the Kala Academy in Panjim. They picked up their dinner packets and were walking back to their hotel.
An IRB Police Constable who in his statement during the police inquiry stated that he was on a motor-cycle when he spotted the man and woman (whom he felt were suspicious) and called his friend driving the Police Vehicle with the number North Goa – 4 and then approached the couple near Campal Parade grounds. And started to demand their identity and their purpose to being out late. It is interesting to note that the police constable was not in his uniform.
When questioned Rahul Barua displayed his media card (of the magazine he publishes in Varanasi). To which the constable started to further question him on what he was doing out late in the night with his lady colleague. Barua then asked the constable for his name, to which he gave his name a Pravin Dessai (a false name when his actual name is Yogesh Goral and is a driver to the SP-North).
The constable continued to ask Barua about what he is doing out late and kept telling him that he was suspicious and that he is within is right to arrest him at this time. During this time his police friend in NG-4 did nothing to stop this police constable from his antics.
Barua then started to question the police constable and told him that he would file a police complaint. To which the constable told him to do whatever he wants and he does not care; the constable kept calling him and the lady suspects and of suspicious nature. Post which Barua sent an SMS to the concerned police authorities who then acted on his SMS.
When GoaChronicle.com spoke to the police personel in-charge Atmaram Deshpande, he informed that the police constable had acted on his own and he was quite shocked by it. He elucidated that the police constable should not have used a false name nor acted without permission from a senior officer (as that it a part of his protocol). Therefore the police department has suspended him and an inquiry has been ordered.
The police department’s senior officer who did not want to be named since Deshpande is in-charge of this issue very categorically stated that at no point of time did the Goa Chief Secretary Sanjay Srivastava speak to DGP Krishna Kumar on this issue. Secondly, he raised the issue of where in Goa have people being stopped from walking the streets at around 10pm at night, there is no moral policing. And if the couple were indeed suspicious in their act, then the police has to follow a procedure, but not resort to impersonation and harassment. Thirdly, if the police constable was indeed doing his duty of apprehending suspicious people, then he ought not to have used a false name.
Followed this incident a section of the print media based on inputs of the constable and his supporters embarked on a media slander of Barua and his lady colleague, with even one weekly newspaper terming the lady colleague a prostitute. The image being created is that Rahul Barua broke the law and is now using his political influence to punish the police constable for doing his duty. GoaChronicle.com is still trying to understand what was the reason of apprehending Barua and his lady colleague without having the authority to do it and does it not amount violation of human right violation.