Two independent witnesses who were at the Panjim Police Station on 8th January have rebutted the police version of what happened to Cipriano Fernandes while he was in the lock up, according to reports published in the local media.
According to the girlfriend who had lodged the complaint, she saw the police beating Cipriano in the jeep as he was being brought to the police station and even before the jeep would reach the police station, Cipriano had become silent.
She further stated that Cipriano was dragged to the police station as he could not stand and that she saw a police personnel entering the room where Cipriano was kept with a rubber belt and later could hear the sounds of someone being beaten but the victim was silent.
However, according to the police, Cipriano was picked up from his cousin’s house at Porvorim on 7th January after his girlfriend had complained of being threatened by him. They said that on 8th January as Cipriano suffered from fits, he was rushed to the Goa Medical College hospital at Bambolim where he died on 9th January morning.
Two independent witnesses have now disclosed that they saw Cipriano lying lifeless at the police station on 8th January morning and that he was taken to the hospital only at around 1 pm.
According to Kenneth Silveira who was at the police station for an enquiry from 10:45 am onwards on 8th January, he saw the “motionless” body of Cipriano lying at the station with froth oozing out of his mouth. He also disclosed that the person’s face was swollen and his clothes were torn and there was a foul smell emanating from it.
When Kenneth apparently asked the police what was wrong with the person, he was asked to mind his own business.
The other witness Grenville Dias, who arrived at the police station at 12:45 noon said he saw the lifeless body of Cipriano being taken away on a stretcher to the 108 ambulance at around 1 pm.
Taking cognizance of the demand from Cipriano’s family members and a NGO, the government has ordered Deputy Superintendent of Police Bossuet da Silva to enquire into the police behavior in the case while the Sub-Divisional Magistrate is conducting a separate judicial enquiry as stipulated by the law.
Meanwhile, the Forensic Laboratory, Surat has reportedly submitted to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Sabaji Shetye who is conducting the judicial enquiry, the report on Cipriano’s viscera.
The cause of Cipriano’s death was not mentioned in the autopsy report as the viscera report was awaited.
Sabaji Shetye has forwarded the viscera report to the Goa Medical College authorities so that the autopsy report can now be completed.