When Protectors Turns Assaulters – The PSI Sawant Incident

GoaChronicle.com brings to its readers a word for word account from Vincent Fernandes – the concerned citizen who decided to stand up against a police atrocity (as told to his NRI brother)-  on what transpired with PSI Dattaguru Sawant –  the police officer accused of misusing his official role and this is not his first time …

The news reels have not yet dried on the issues of police atrocities on the Cipriano Fernandes and Babita Gawde cases and yet we face another such incident, this time the police officer is reportedly an habitual offender and in the past has known to misuse his police authority, but no action has been initiated. Furthermore, sources reveal that he now shares the patronage of the current Chief Minister, who so far has remained silent on this incident.

On 26th June an assault took place on an innocent citizen of Valpoi at the police station. PSI Dattaguru Sawant who had earlier twice been suspended for bad behaviour and harassment of the citizens but re-instated back on duty on both the occasions is again in the highlight as an incident took place at the Valpoi police station.

At about 7:45 pm an accident took place at Valpoi wherein a muslim motorcyclist zigzagging on the road with an old man in the pillion seat dashed against a Maruti van driven by one Santano – a staff of Irrigation Department of Valpoi. Though the van was not at fault a hot debate took place after a crowd of Muslim youth gathered and started man-handling Santano and wanted to assault him.

As this commotion was in progress another local citizen Vincent Fernandes passed by there in his car and seeing the commotion stopped his car at a distance and came in and tried to pacify the people. The group of Muslims listened to Vincent calmed down and started negotiating for money settlement without going to the police.

As they were negotiating a policeman came there and started shouting and abusing the groups and those involved in the accident. Vincent approached the cop and told him not to add fuel to the fight as they were in the process of compromising the accident and that everything would be peaceful. But the arrogant policeman refused to listen to him and the others and forced them to come to the police station.

With no choice left all off them went to the Valpoi police station where they met the PSI Dattaguru Sawant who started behaving as if he was above the law. Vincent then informed the PSI that they were compromising on the accident, money or whatever required will be done to the victim. At this the PSI shouted at Vincent and told him to get out of the police station.

At this Vincent asked the PSI that if good citizens try to help in getting situations under control are abused in such a way then how do the cops expect them to help the cops in times of need? 

At this Dattaguru Sawant started to push out Vincent and succeeded in getting him out of the room.

As he was being pushed out Vincent told the driver of the van Santano who was frightened of being left alone, not to worry as it was only an accident, nothing will happen and asked him to relax, told him that he was outside to call him if any help required. As Vincent left to go out the arrogant PSI Dattaguru Sawant went from behind and slapped him thrice from behind and kicked him on the floor. Instead of attending PSI Sawant kept on beating Vincent without giving him a chance to get up. Then some policemen and those gathered stopped the PSI who then took Vincent inside by pushing and locked him up in the lock up.

Then he instead of attending the accident case took up a register to register an offence against Vincent. However he had to deal with the accident case first. One thing for sure it certainly appeared that the PSI was in a mood to kill Vincent were it not for his luck that day. The PSI Sawant took Vincent inside the lockup and started kicking him again on stomach and back.

PSI Dattaguru Sawant further started abusing Vincent with filthy words and threats in future should he ever come to the Valpoi police station as long as he was in posting at the Valpoi police station. However when the victim’s brother called up from overseas the PSI had a different story to tell which was confirmed as false by those gathered at the police station including the policeman on duty.

All this happened at about 8:15 pm in the absence of the in-charge of the police station PI Ramesh Gaonkar who when contacted tried to side the PSI initially but then relented to the voice of truth reluctantly and not genuinely.

PI Ramesh Gaonkar was informed by PSI Dattaguru Sawant a different version of the story saying that Vincent had given him badwords which the PI initially believed. 

Vincent’s blood pressure went high in the lock up and had to be taken to the local hospital. The doctor on duty had to admit Vincent and told the accompanying cops that he had very high blood pressure at the moment and that she cannot discharge him. 

On 28th June 2012 at 07:45 AM Indian Standard time when the brother of the victim (Vincent) who is overseas called the Director General of Police Kishen Kumar, though the DGP spoke to him just for one minute he promised him to look in to the matter and said that he had taken down the details and will check into it.

At about 9:00 AM (IST) the victim was called to the office of the SDPO Bicholim, DySP Gajanan V. Prabhudesai. Prabhudesai was very courteous and very gently handled the situation. He spoke to the victim most politely and took down his statement immediately and assured the victim Vincent that strict and appropriate action would be taken against the erring PSI for such conduct not befitting a decent and good police officer and can only be found in criminals. According to the victim he now has hopes of justice based on his interaction with the DySP  Gajanan V. Prabudesai who was very angry at this type of criminal behaviour by an irresponsible PSI Dattaguru Sawant of Valpoi Police Station.

In the meantime the brother of Vincent also sent in the details of the case via emails to the Director General of Police, Kishen Kumar, Inspector General of Police Sanjay Singh and the Superintendent of Police North Vijai Singh. The SP North was very quick in responding to the grievances of the victim’s brother and he too initiated an inquiry with immediate effect. The top officials Vijai Singh and DySP Gajanan V. Prabhudesai were very quick in responding to the illegal act of PSI Dattaguru Sawant who had twice been suspended and once dismissed and later re-instated back on duty.

On 29th June, SP North summoned the erring PSI Dattaguru Sawant and the PI Ramesh Gaonkar to his office at Porvorim for the enquiry in the case. The SP also called in the victim to his office.

SP Singh then recorded the statement of the victim Vincent who narrated the incident as had occurred to the SP.  The SP after hearing the victim and recording his statement assured of action against the PSI. When asked PI Ramesh Gaonkar who was initially trying to cover up the criminal minded PSI Dattaguru Sawant, agreed in the presence of the SP that it was a wrong move by Sawant.

Though the basic formalities are done till now there is no action like the suspension or any other.

According to the public and the locals of Valpoi the police department would do everything to cover up the incident as the ineligible and unfit PSI was appointed by the current Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the PSI has got more wings to himself based on this fact. 

The Chief Minister so far has not reacted at all to the incident.


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