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Police declare Rs 1 lakh reward for info on escaped rapist

PANAJI/MARGAO: Goa police has declared Rs 1 lakh reward to the public for providing information leading to the arrest of the under-trial prisoner Ishwar Makwana who had escaped from the custody of police early morning on Monday from the TB Hospital at St Inez, Panaji where he was undergoing treatment.

A senior police officer informed that several police teams are on the task to trace the accused. Bus stands, railway stations as well as border check-posts are under the surveillance, said the police officer adding that they are following certain leads which could help them to track down the accused.

Makwana is one of the three accused in the Betalbatim gang rape case, who was admitted to the hospital on November 28, said police.

While an offence was registered against Makwana in connection with the incident, the Goa police department had suspended four police personnel – head constable Rajendra Tamshe and police constables Ladu Raul, Sanjay Khandeparkar and Uday Naik. The incident had occurred at around 5.30 am.

Referring to the escape incident, a police officer said that the accused was admitted in ward number 2 of the TB Hospital. On Monday early morning, the accused informed the police on duty that he wanted to go to the washroom and while in the washroom, he reportedly faked sickness and cried for help. Hearing this, the policeman waiting outside the washroom, pushed the door. However, to his surprise, the accused, in turn, pushed the policeman and fled. A senior police officer said that before pushing the door open, the policeman should have alerted the other three policemen, who were on duty and reportedly taking rest in an adjacent room.

Meanwhile, the Betalbatim gang-rape case involving three accused came up before the additional district and session’s judge, Margao on Tuesday. Public prosecutor Asha Arseker prayed before the court that the trial in the case be continued which was granted.

Makwana, who hails from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, and two other men – Ram Bhariya and Sanjiv Pal – had allegedly raped and robbed a 20-year-old woman at the Betalbatim beach on May 24 this year. All the three accused were subsequently arrested and lodged at the Central Jail at Colvale in North Goa district. Makwana had been charged in the past in MP for various offences, including killing a couple in Indore.

According to information from senior police officer, head constable Subash Naik and police constable Nilesh Kasker of Konkan railway police who had arrested Curchorem absconding accused Shyam Devidas are part of a team formed to arrest Makwana.

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