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Goa rape case: Police identifies accused

Source: PTI
Last updated on: January 28, 2010 18:50 IST
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The Goa police identified the accused involved in the rape of a nine-year-old Russian girl as a 30-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh who had been working for a local pharmaceutical firm.

The police added that both he and his colleague, who has also been implicated in the crime, are absconding.

The breakthrough in identifying the accused – whose name the police said was Aman Bharadwaj -- came two days after the minor was raped on Arambol beach, 35 km from the Goan capital Panaji.

The incident has triggered a rift in the state cabinet with Tourism Minister Fransisco Pacheco leading the charge apparently targeting state Home Minister and Congress leader Ravi Naik.

Deputy Inspector General Ravindar Yadav said Aman's colleague Anil, who allegedly engaged the girl's mother in a small talk on the beachside when the girl was playing in the water, has also been implicated in the case.

Yadav said a group of 10 men working for the pharmaceutical firm had gone to the beach and the two accused broke away and went to an isolated beach stretch where the victim and her mother were spending some time.

Yadav said the police, which released the photograph of Bharadwaj believed to be around 30 years, was confident of arresting the two men soon.

The incident has prompted the Nationalist Congress Party to attack its senior ruling coalition partner the Congress in Goa.

Pacheco, a NCP legislator, asked the Congress high command to act against the party ministers who are not "able to handle their portfolios".

"If some ministers cannot handle their portfolios then they should give them up," Pacheco said, in a veiled reference to the home minister.

"I had moved a confidential file to chief minister and called for an urgent meeting between home ministry and tourism ministry in his (chief minister) presence," Pacheco said.

"But there was no response to my communication from chief minister's office," said Pacheco, who has often voiced fears about Goa being branded as India's rape capital.

Yadav later told the media that the second accused, known by the Anil Raghuvanshi hailed from Madhya Pradesh, was also missing.

He said Aman had reported for the 8 am shift on Thursday morning and later absconded. The two men, who came to Goa in 2008, shared a room in Dhirgal, a few kilometres away from Pernel, where their pharmaceutical firm was located.

The accused were working as assistant machine operators.

Pacheco said the incident was "shameful" and reflected on the poor law-and-order situation in the state, where the Congress is heading a coalition government.

Pacheco said he was tired of talking about failure of law and order in the state.

"The (rape) incidents are an insult to Goa. Why should state get a bad name only because of inefficiency of a few ministers?"

As per the girl's statement, the accused threatened her with a sharp weapon before sexually abusing her in the water.

The Goa government has sent a detailed report to the Centre on the incident.

The police have registered cases under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 8 (II) of the Goa Children's Act against the accused. Superintendent of Police (North) Bosco George has released a sketch of Bharadwaj.

The girl's mother, who is a doctor by profession, in her complaint with the Pernem police has described the accused as a tall, square-faced man with big round eyes and a white spot on the upper lip.

She had complained that her daughter was raped between 5.30 pm and 6 pm on the evening of January 26.

The police have been raiding various guesthouses in and around Panaji to hunt for the accused.

Earlier, Chief Minister Digamber Kamat had said: "I had received a call from Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja, who asked for a detailed report. The chief secretary, who was directed to compile it, has sent the report yesterday (Wednesday)."

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