MARGAO: The Velim church assault case took an interesting turn on Friday, as the prosecution witness Pandhari Gaonkar turned hostile, and accused the police of falsely citing him as witness.
The trial in the criminal case is being conducted before Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Margao, Saee Prabhudessai.
The witness deposed that he had visited the Cuncolim police station in connection with an accident case, and at that time the police had taken his signature on some documents without informing him about the contents of the panchanama.
During his cross-examination by defence counsel Pritam Morais, who is representing the priests in the said case, the prosecution witness deposed that he works in paddy field and that he does not know to read and write English.
He further stated that he had visited the police station in connection with an accident case in which he was a victim.
He further stated that the contents of the papers on which his signature were obtained were not read out to him and he was informed that the said papers were in connection with the accident.
The Cuncolim police had cited the witness as a panch witness to the scene of offence, and according to the prosecution the spot of the assault and the church premises were inspected by the police in the presence of this witness.
It may be recalled that the Cuncolim police had filed a charge-sheet against Fr Romano Gonsalves, Fr Lucio Dias and twenty other parishioners alleging that on February 25, 2011 the accused with around 1500 persons formed an unlawful assembly in the premises of St Francis Xavier Church, Velim, and assaulted the police staff while discharging their lawful duties and attempted to commit murder of then PSI Kapil Nayak, head constable Krishnanand Rane and police constable Kuldeep Dessai. The trial will now be continued on October 1.