Panaji: An extensive manhunt has been
launched, a day after Michael Fernandes, wanted in 19 cases
and being investigated for accepting a contract to harm the
family members of State Home Minister Ravi Naika managed to
escape from police custody.
Superintendent of Police Arvind Gawas told a news agency that
almost 100 policemen were combing the area around Panaji to
Police have increased picketing on Panaji-Margao and
Panaji-Ponda highway and resorted to intense checking of the
vehicles, he said.
Fernandes (23) escaped yesterday after being referred for
psychological treatment to Bambolim`s Institute of Psychiatry
and Human Behaviour. This was his fifth escape from police or
judicial custody over the last few years.
However, his accomplice Dipak Kesarkar, who had managed
to flee along with Fernandes has been apprehended. Following
the incident, four policemen including a head constable have
been placed under suspension for dereliction of their duties.
A senior police officer said the escort cell had issued a
memo to its staff after Fernandes recently threw an open
challenge to the police to keep him behind bars.
The staff was told that he should not be taken out
without handcuffs. Even yesterday he was handcuffed, however,
they were removed for medical examination, when he managed to
Fernandes has a history of jail breaks, the latest being
on February 22, when he jumped from a moving police van and
disappeared. He was recaptured on April 11 from a dense forest
at Khola in Canacona near here.
Gawas said the criminal is wanted in almost 19 cases
across Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa. Even after his February
escape he had threatened and robbed a foreigner at Canacona,
threatened a family at Goa Velha village and committed robbery
at Bicholim and Kankavli (Maharashtra).