Court cancels bail of accused in Russian’s rape

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

PANAJI - The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court Tuesday cancelled the anticipatory bail of John Fernandes, a local politician accused of raping a 25-year-old Russian woman Dec 1.

Justice U.D. Salvi in his order said there was a prima facie case of rape when the victim first went to the Colva police station Dec 1. Fernandes was granted anticipatory bail by a local court earlier.

The high court order said the woman’s statement to the Crime Branch subsequently was only an elaboration of her complaint and not an addition, as argued by the defence lawyer.

On Dec 2, the Russian woman complained about the rape by Fernandes to the Colva police. The complaint was watered down to a mere attempt to rape by the station house officer (SHO) police inspector Siddhant Shirodkar.

The woman, who works as a Russian liaison executive at a five-star resort in South Goa, said in her complaint that the attacker had raped her in his car, after she was rendered helpless by a spiked drink on the night of Dec 1.

The victim also alleged that the police inspector harassed her at the time she went to register her complaint, by repeatedly asking her to withdraw the complaint.

The case was later handed over to the Crime Branch, after allegations of a goof-up were reported in the media.

Justice Salvi also observed that the injuries on victim’s body parts like thighs and knees indicated that were was no possibility of any consent for the sexual act.

Justice Salvi, while observing that the intoxication of the victim was a part of the accused’s design to sexually assault her, also instructed the police to recover the undergarments and clothes worn by the accused left in the car after the rape.

Following the allegations of corruption and mishandling of the rape investigations, the Russian consulate had written to the state government seeking a thorough probe into the affair.

Filed under: Immigration

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