A legal notice has been served on the Chief Secretary of Goa and the Director General of Police to immediately charge sheet Goa Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar in the criminal case registered against him in the 2009 Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary rioting case. Appropriate Court directions will have to be sought if Ramesh Tawadkar is not charge sheeted by the Canacona Police with a week.
A First Information Report (F.I.R) bearing No 35/09 was registered on 27th April 2009 at the Canacona Police Station against Mr. Ramesh Tawadkar the then MLA of Poinguinim Constituency who is now MLA of Canacona Constituency and the Sports Minister of Goa.
The F.I.R was registered against Ramesh Tawadkar in serious offences for having along with others barged into the office of the Range Forest Officer at Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary in Canacona and forcibly taken away two accused who were in the custody of the Range Forest Officer. The F.I.R was registered against Mr. Ramesh Tawadkar under Sections 143, 147,451,353,224 and 225 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code.
But surprisingly though over seven long years have elapsed since the registration of the F.I.R, the accused Ramesh Tawadkar has not yet been charge sheeted, with the case against him conveniently shelved in cold storage at the Canacona Police Station. The Police are required to act in accordance with law and cannot be shielding Ramesh Tawadkar just because he is a well connected ruling party politician and Minister.
The Goa Police, who have gone above board and displayed enthusiasm in the Tarun Tejpal, Louis Berger and more recently in the Babush Monseratte rape case, have high-handedly shelved the investigation against Ramesh Tawadkar in an obvious attempt to shield the Sports Minister.
There is a public perception that the police force in Goa are sadly acting as caged parrots by acting swiftly only against the political opponents of the government. Such conduct by the police is in flagrant and blatant violation of law besides being in contempt of various directives issued by the Supreme Court and the High Courts deprecating the manner in which the investigating officers have been acting as caged parrots of the politicians in power.
In Prakash Singh & Ors vs Union of India the Supreme Court observed “The commitment, devotion and accountability of the police has to be only to the Rule of Law. The supervision and control has to be such that it ensures that the police serves the people without any regard, whatsoever, to the status and position of any person while investigating a crime or taking preventive measures. Its approach has to be service oriented, its role has to be defined so that in appropriate cases, where on account of acts of omission and commission of police, the Rule of Law becomes a casualty, the guilty Police Officers are brought to book and appropriate action taken without any delay.
So the Canacona Police must uphold the law by immediately charge sheeting the accused Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar so that he is prosecuted in accordance with law.