Margao: In a gruesome murder that sent shockwaves across the entire state, a jewellery shop owner was stabbed to death in broad daylight by two men in the heart of Margao on Wednesday, upsetting residents of the commercial town and the neighbouring areas.
According to Margao police, the motive behind the killing of the shop owner is not yet known. Preliminary probe has revealed that two persons came on a motorcycle with intent to commit theft. However, police are yet to collect strong evidence in that regard. The preliminary investigation has also suggested that nothing has gone missing from the shop.
Even as the police formed a team, no one was arrested till late night on Wednesday.
As per information received from police, the jewellery shop owner, Swapnil Walke, aged 41, was attacked by the assailants, who entered his shop around 12.20 pm. The police received a call at 12.48 pm following which a team of the town police rushed to the spot and found Walke severely injured. Police immediately shifted him to Hospicio Hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead.
Sources in the police said when the two accused entered the jewellery shop, there was noise inside following which several people assembled near the shop. When the accused came out of the shop, the crowd tried to nab them and even pelted stones at them. However, the accused managed to escape.
During the police personnel’s inspection of the crime scene, a country-made pistol was recovered along with a magazine, an empty cartridge, three live rounds and a knife cover. Later, the police also managed to recover the knife that was used in the assault.
Police have registered a case vide FIR No 191/20 under sections 302/34 of the Indian penal code and sections 3/25 of the Arms Act against unknown persons for committing murder and possessing arms. A dog squad was called at the crime spot and a forensic team also inspected the scene of crime.
The victim’s neighbour had captured a part of the incident on his mobile phone in which three persons can be seen running towards the far end of the street where the victim’s shop is located.
It may be noted that the jewellery shop of the victim is located in a busy area of Margao, behind the Grace Church.
Sources said the accused may have threatened the victim at knifepoint and when the victim resisted the attack, the duo stabbed him multiple times before fleeing from the scene. They also said one of the accused ran out of the shop with a knife in his hand after stabbing Walke. The public tried to nab him but could only lay their hands on his T-shirt. Sources also said both the accused managed to escape by running in the opposite direction of the shop.
Several prominent citizens of Margao have condemned the ghastly attack on the shop owner and demanded immediate arrest of the murderers. The deceased is the son of BJP leader Krishni Walke. As a mark of respect, jewellery shop owners in the commercial town downed their shutters on Wednesday. They have also decided to keep their shops shut on Thursday.
Citizens of Margao said the town police have failed to curb crime and added that they would meet the Chief Minister to apprise him of the situation. Many people have raised concerns over their safety in public while also condemning the criminal act.
A video of the incident being shared on social media and messaging apps, showing a bloodstained Walke holding onto the suspect after Walke was stabbed in his shop, has raised concerns among people watching it and questioning the law and order situation in the state. Many have expressed their shock at the incident occurring in broad daylight.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Margao MLA Digambar Kamat and Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai expressed shock over the incident.
Sawant tweeted, “Shocked by the tragic incident at the jewellery outlet in Margao today. I have spoken to DGP and SP South Goa, and asked them to investigate the incident and arrest the culprits at the earliest. We will ensure that stern action is taken and the guilty are brought to justice.”
Kamat said, “Completely devastated by the news of daylight stabbing of young businessman from Margao Swapnil Walke at his jewellery shop. There is a complete collapse of law and order in the state of Goa. I demand immediate action in the nabbing of the murderers. I appeal to all to take precautions for your safety.”
Sardesai said, “RIP Swapnil Walke, a young lad who I saw grow as a neighbour. His daylight murder in attempted dacoity on his jewellery store means collapse of law and order in Goa! Economic crisis following COVID will bring a spurt in crime. Jewellers who become soft targets must be provided special protection.”