Goa Police ‘lose track’ of 366 foreigners who jumped bail since 2015
The Goa Police has lost track of 366 foreigners who were enlarged on bail between 2015 and the first half of 2020, according to data collated by the state home department and submitted in the High Court.
The foreigners who have mostly been arrested under sections of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act have been released on bail often with the condition that they report to the police station regularly or keep the local police station informed about any trips outside the state or country.
The absconding foreigners make up 90% of foreign nationals who were enlarged on bail pending trial and have fled the country or otherwise made themselves scarce and not available to face prosecution. A bulk of them are from the North Goa district.
The Superintendent of Police (North) has revealed to the court that the police in his jurisdiction lost track of 32 foreign nationals in 2015, 40 in 2016, 65 in 2017, 87 in 2018, 59 in 2019 and 22 up to August 31 this year.
The Anti-Narcotics Bureau of the Goa Police said it lost track of 3 undertrials in 2015, five in 2016, eight in 2017, nine in 2019 and eight in 2019.
The Superintendent of Police (South) said he lost track of 16 foreigners during the same period while the Crime Branch said they had no track of 20 such foreigners facing trial since 2015.
“It is evident that in almost 90% of the cases where the foreigners have been enlarged on bail, their present whereabouts are unknown meaning thereby, that in all probabilities such foreigners have fled the country or otherwise not available to face the prosecution,” the Bombay High Court at Goa division bench of Justices M S Sonak and M S Jawalkar said.
These foreigners are mainly Nigerians but also include Kenyans, Tanzanians, Ghanaians, Israelis and Russians.
“If the concerned police officials were to realise that the foreigners are not attending the police stations and marking their attendance, the least that was expected was to move the courts for cancellation of bail. Besides, the police officials were required to immediately swing into action and trace such foreigners, before they succeed in fleeing from justice,” the High Court said.
“From the statistics furnished, at least prima facie impression is created that the police agencies have treated this matter absolutely casually. We reiterate that if this continues, then, the administration of criminal justice in this State will be very seriously affected,” the judges noted.
The High Court was initially hearing an appeal filed by the State against the acquittal of one Pavel Neuhausel, a Czech national who was arrested on charges of murdering his partner Marketa Horka in 2013. After his initial acquittal by the trial court of the murder, Neuhausel was enlarged on bail while the state challenged the acquittal in the High Court.
However, during the hearing of the acquittal it came to light that Neuhausel had fled the country.
Back in 2013 Neuhausel was found in an unconscious state alongside the railway tracks at Cansa Tivim in North Goa and told the police that he was kidnapped, assaulted and dumped by the railway line. When the police broke into his room at the guest house where he was staying, they found his murdered partner lying in a pool of blood. He was arrested for the murder.
“We found that the police agencies were not at all serious, either in apprehending the accused or even in fixing any responsibility upon the police officials who were responsible for the accused jumping the bail and fleeing the country,” the High Court observed.
“This is a serious issue affecting the administration of criminal justice. If this continues, then, it will have a very serious effect upon the administration of criminal justice in the State of Goa,” the High Court said.
No one in the government was willing to come on record about the court’s observations. But Goa’s Advocate General Devidas Pangam said the government will file a reply in response to the Court’s orders.
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