Michael Luis Fernandes, an undertrial in a theft case, escaped from a police van at Chicalim, while being taken back to Sada jail from the court of the judicial magistrate first class, Mapusa, on Tuesday evening. Harbour PI Rajan Nigale said, “Fernandes jumped out of a window of the Indian Reserve Battalion van, sat on one of two bikes following the van from Cortalim and headed towards North Goa.”
The incident occurred around 6.15pm. As the van approached Chicalim circle it slowed down on account of traffic. Jumping out, Fernandes hopped on to a Yamaha that went speeding towards Cortalim, eyewitnesses told cops.
In their statement, the escort police personnel said two motorbikes—a black Pulsar and a red Yamaha-—had been following the van right from Cortalim circle, about 13 km away from Chicalim circle. By the time the personnel realized what had happened at Chicalim, the bikes had disappeared in traffic.
Fernandes, 25, has about 22 cases of burglary, theft and robbery, registered against him, said police sources. They added that he is an active member of a gang involved in such crimes.
A resident of Dandi, Agasaim, Fernandes was arrested by the Mapusa police in a theft case late last year and was transferred from Mapusa judicial lock-up to Sada sub-jail on December 24. The police van, incidentally, was also carrying other prisoners who had been taken for hearings at different courts on Tuesday. Sources said there were at least eight police personnel on board. Police are investigating if Fernandes had help from any of the jail or van personnel.
Meanwhile, all police stations have been alerted about the runaway undertrial, while nakabandi was seen under way in many places.