Summing up the sorry story of Goa Police and perhaps police anywhere in India…
By Dr Olav Albuquerque
WHEN the Goa State Police Complaints Authority (GSPCA) did not punish delinquent Police Inspector Devendra Gad, although he allegedly had nearly 15 complaints against him, they were sending a wrong message to Goa and Goans. That message sent was the GSPCA was being hyper-technical and saving a delinquent police inspector, who does not know how to investigate a double-murder case, apart from abusing and insulting complainants who have genuine grievances. The fact that he does not know or doesn’t want to investigate simple crimes was confirmed to me by sources within the GSPCA itself. He allegedly has 15 complaints lodged against him.
I first came across Devendra Gad when I rushed to the Porvorim police station in August 2010, to lodge a complaint about the alleged fabrication of an inward register of the village panchayat of Salvador do Mundo. The clerk had allegedly fabricated an inward entry to support the bogus claim of a man who had built an illegal house in my ancestral property.
When I reached the Porvorim police station in August 2010, Devendra Gad began screaming at me after I handed over a typed complaint with the seal and signature of the village panchayat of Salvador do Mundo, carrying the seal of the panchayat. He shouted at me : “You go and seize the inward register yourself and bring it to me here in the police station. Only then will I register an FIR.” I was shocked at this PI’s outburst. He even began to question the validity of my law qualifications by screaming at me to ask if I had a bona fide law degree.
NOW, if I had to seize the inward register myself, this would constitute a case of robbery which would entail several years of rigorous imprisonment. I did not obey him. Today, this criminal case is still dragging on for over ten years in the magistrates’ courts at Mapusa without charges being framed because of a police inspector like Devendra Gad. And his subordinates like the then PSI Dinesh Gadekar who told me only the Sarpanch and Secretary could complain about the fabrication.
PSI Gadekar’s successor, PSI Videsh Shirodkar, charge-sheeted just two out of three culprits. I had to approach the then Director of Prosecutions Shiral Monteiro who opined the man who built an illegal house in my ancestral property and handed a bogus application to the clerk, should also be charge-sheeted.
The three accused were discharged because of the gross negligence of an APP who has now been promoted to Public Prosecutor despite two complaints against him. To summarize, the original inward register has been destroyed while in the custody of the honorable magistrate’s court while the concerned APP was not aware of it.
But to return to Goa police, it would be wrong to tarnish the image of all officers because there are some good officers like Shivendu Bhushan, IPS who holds a BE degree from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur, SP Dinraj Govekar and PI Paras Naik of Calangute police station, who are honest and competent. Then there are stalwarts like Aslam Khan who fought stupendous odds to make her mark as an IPS officer. But these are the exceptions and not the rule. For every 100 incompetent policemen, you will find just 10 competent police officers.
AN activist who has had frequent run-ins with the police sums it up adroitly. “I fail to understand how the police are promoted despite the rise in crime within Goa. The police are reluctant to register an FIR when a victim approaches the police to lodge a complaint by saying the crime is a non-cognizable offence although the victim sustains grievous injuries backed by medical reports.”
He adds that in order to protect the accused, in some cases at least, some of these black sheep in the Goa Police lodge false and bogus cases against innocent people to divert the attention of the judiciary from the actual crime committed.”
He has spoken from his own experience. In a case in which he is not connected, I myself was framed by SP (earlier Dy SP) Kiran Poduwal who allegedly planned and registered a bogus FIR against me on September 27, 2018 after he was told by a powerful minister to do so. I and my client, John Menezes, had emailed the Porvorim Police seeking police protection during a site inspection where violence was expected.
As an advocate, I approached the Porvorim police on September 26, 2018 with a typed request for police presence during the next day on September 27, 2018 as there was going to be a site inspection of illegal constructions built on private forest land allegedly with the consent of a minister. I have been informed that Porduwal phoned one Shailesh Shetty, allegedly a notorious criminal who is the business partner of a politician. Poduwal asked the politician what to do and was directed not to send a police jeep to ensure my client, 87-year-old client, John Menezes, would be beaten. Accordingly, during the site inspection I was brutally beaten and a false FIR 129/2018 was foisted on me by this former Dy SP, Kiran Poduwal who ordered his deputies, the then Senior PI Santosh Dessai and PSI Sagun Sawant to register the false FIR against me.
It took me five long years of agony to fight this case in the high court. The distinguished and erudite judges, MS Sonak and BP Deshpande saw through the whole charade and quashed the false FIR and charge-sheet against me. This is why if you are framed in a false case by the Goa Police, you have to first seek anticipatory bail from the courts, seek a discharge before the magistrate where the charge-sheet has been filed. If you are not discharged, you can file a Criminal Writ Petition before the High Court of Bombay at Goa where the judges will evaluate if the police have collected evidence against you.
IF THERE is no evidence against you, the learned and erudite judges will quash the bogus FIR and charge-sheet against you and set you free. But keep in mind that the police can fabricate false evidence against you.
And if that is the case, the judges will not be able to quash the false FIR and charge-sheet against you. They will have to dismiss your Criminal Writ Petition and direct you to face the trial.