Why the Goa gang rape victim may never get justice?

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The Madhya Pradesh Police on Tuesday confirmed that Ishwar Makhwana or Ishwar Makran, the main accused in the Betalbatim gang rape case, is a hardened criminal with two murder cases registered against him including rape of a minor and a  double murder of a couple and had been dodging the police for the last two years.

He has a total of nearly 24 cases pending against him in all. According to legal experts, the Goa police can get a maximum police custody of 14 days and in rare cases of about 28 days. Eventually, Makran will be sent to judicial custody, which is when the MP police will make an application for remand or transfer of custody as there are 24 cases pending in MP against the main accused. The courts in Goa will have to hand over custody to the MP police eventually and he will be sent to the jails in MP.  His custody will move from one local police station to another in MP where there are police cases registered against him. This will take nearly 6 months, given the number of cases against him. Once he gets transferred to a MP jail, it will be next to impossible to produce him in Goa courts given the fact that the next 3-4 months are Monsoon months and he is a hardened criminal who is likely to escape. Given these complications, the Goa gang rape case, could take 2-3 years to finally come to trial, unless of course the Goa government is really serious about justice for the victim and sets up a fast track court and finishes the case within 6 months. Here again the accused will get lawyers from MP who will employ delaying tactics and drag the case nearly for a year, even in a fast-track court. In any situation, in this case don’t expect a judgement for at least 1.5 to 2 years, legal experts warned, adding that the accused will try every trick in the book to delay the case and may even try to escape during trial, when he is being transported to and fro from MP to Goa every time for his various cases.

The accused are transferred via road, in run-down vehicles which break down on the highways. In such cases, an accused who can spend Rs 50,000 can make good his escape, police sources warned. There have been cases of accused getting married during their road journeys from one State to the other, the famous case being of gangster Abu Salem who was deported from Portugal.

Incidentally, according to a Herald report,  the Madhya Pradesh police had come only to assist the Goa Police in nabbing him and have now verified that he is the same person. The MP police left back for their home State without even attempting to take Ishwar’s custody. The four police personnel of the Badgonda Police Station led by ASI Jatendra Mishra arrived in Goa last night and interrogated Ishwar at the South Police District HQ.

Also Read: Gang rape accused wanted for nearly 10 rapes including rape of a minor, 2 murders including a double murder and over 12 cases of robbery

Superintendent of Police, Arvind Gawas said there were five cases registered against Ishwar in Indore. While in one case, he along with two other persons reportedly raped a college student and then crushed her and her male friend to death in a ditch. The crime took place in November 2017 but came to light only this year, when one of the persons involved in that case, confessed to it and hence police registered the case on May 1, 2018.

He further informed that Ishwar along with three others also gang-raped four girls after taking their jewellery, cash and valuables that were with the three boys who accompanied the girls on a picnic. The third case registered against him is that of a murder of one Ajay Bhil, who was earlier his aide.

The Excise Department has filed a case against him for extracting  illicit liquor illegally while the police had another case against him of kidnapping and raping his friend Mansingh’s minor daughter. Incidentally Ishwar claims to have married this girl now.

His modus operandi was to attack people visiting Mehdikun waterfall, a tourist spot in Indore and rob the gullible people and rape them.

According to Gawas, while the police have only five cases registered against him, during interrogation, Ishwar has confessed to other crimes.

“He has confessed to 8 gang-rapes, 12 robberies and a double murder in November 2017,” Gawas said. He is also suspected in a case of rape of a minor and several cases of house-breaking and burglary.

Ishwar acquired criminal tendencies from his maternal uncle, who was looking after him since his father was murdered when he was only three years. His uncle has two murder cases against him and is presently in jail.

Ishwar and 19-year-old Ram Bhariya were working in the same factory and through Ram, he met Sanjeev Pal, who was Bhariya’s tutor.

The Indore DIG had announced an award of Rs 20,000 to whoever helped the police in arresting Ishwar.

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