Headmistress granted bail


 The Goa Children’s Court Tuesday granted bail to Headmistress Sharlet Furtado, the only person to be arrested in the Vasco sexual assault case so far. 
Court President Anuja Prabhudesai ordered her release on a surety of Rs 25,000. She is further directed to appear before the Crime Branch investigating team for five days from Wednesday and not to leave the State. The 45-year-old headmistress was arrested for negligence, on Sunday, January 20 under Sections 336 and 337 of the IPC and remanded to seven days police custody. 
Earlier, during arguments on the bail plea on Monday, the prosecution charged Furtado with failing to ensure safety of the students, resulting in the unfortunate incident. 
“…with their common intention, they negligently failed to ensure safety of the school students and thereby endangered their life and safety due to which the minor girl was sexually assaulted in the school toilet by an unknown man,” Public Prosecutor Krishna Sangiri argued, opposing the bail. The brief findings that were submitted to the Court, highlighted security flaws in the school. “There is no proper security at the main gate nor is there enough safety measures followed to ensure the safety of school students which shows lapses on the part of the headmistress and the management…” the Public Prosecutor stated. 
In its reply, the defence represented by Advocate Anacleto Viegas and Advocate Ehrlich Athaide denied the allegations, arguing she is being made a scapegoat in the case and that onus was on the school management. 
“The arrest and detention of the accused is intended to divert the attention of the public protest and find a scapegoat for the failure of the investigating team to nab the accused,” Furtado submitted in her bail application. [H]