Vasco rape victim identifies ‘culprits’
The advocate of the victim’s father submitted in the Children’s Court Wednesday that the son and two nephews of the suspended Vasco school headmistress Sharlet Furtado were identified by the seven-year-old rape victim having committed the offence on January 14.
The child’s father had moved the Court seeking directions so that the police register an FIR and arrest the school headmistress, class teacher and head clerk for destroying evidence after his daughter was raped. The court is to deliver its verdict on the petition on March 4.
In the final arguments on a petition, Adv Aires Rodrigues charged Furtado’s son Ashville, an engineering student in Bangalore and nephews Monty Sanches, working in Dubai and Sartek Varghese, of involvement in the act and submitted a CD containing a recorded interview of the victim narrating the sequence of events on the fateful day. He said that the trio had been identified by the victim.
However, defence attorney appointed by the State in the case said the prosecution had so far not come across any nexus of the headmistress with the accused, who is still at large more than a month after the assault.
“The headmistress is right (pointing at prosecution’s earlier statement to the Court) that no strangers are allowed in the school compound. These people (the trio) are not strangers because they had entered the premises prior to the incident as well,” Adv Rodrigues argued, adding, “The child clearly pointed to Monty and that she had seen him even before the incident.”
The advocate questioned the credibility of the police, arguing that so far only one of two separate FIRs was transferred to the crime branch.
“The investigating agency has questioned vegetable vendors, rickshaw drivers and hundreds of people in the case but the three persons are still not interrogated,” he said accusing the police of a ‘cover-up’.
The advocate charged the investigating agency of shielding the son. “He was called for questioning but it was done in the presence of headmistress and teacher. It is not a group discussion…” he argued.
Monty, he argued, had come to meet his paternal aunt (headmistress) even before the incident asking for money.
Sarojini Sardinha, arguing in defence of the State, submitted a time-line of the incident to counter allegations of delaying informing the police about the incident. She also contended that call details and tower location of Monty and Ashville’s cell phones revealed that they were not present in Vasco at the time of the incident, but conceded, that Ashville was in Goa on vacation.
“The headmistress hails from Velim where she owns an ancestral house. Her brother is taking care of the repairs…He was not there after January 12…” she said.
“On January 14, he (Ashville) was following up the repair works. His cell phone tower location was found in Velim. The call details make it amply clear that he was not in Vasco. We have checked the calls he made and received…He was in touch with his girlfriend who was also interrogated. The neighbours have confirmed in their statement that he (Ashville) was at Velim from morning to evening,” she mentioned.
Defending Monty against allegations made about his alleged visits to the primary school, Sardinha stated that he was not in Goa which was confirmed by the Dabolim Airport and details from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“Monty was born and brought up in Kolhapur. He then settled in Dubai. We have got the details…at no point of time he was in Goa when the incident happened. The airport details do not show any person by this name landing here…” she said.
After a lengthy combined argument, Court President Anuja Prabhudesai asked the petitioner as to why the Court should disbelieve the prosecution or the crime branch on the cover up theory. “…so (we) cannot jump to the conclusion that it is a cover up,” she said.
Adv Rodrigues responded by saying that the identification parade was still pending, to which Sardinha said that the child cannot be tortured every time during the probe. [H]