Panaji: The embarrassed authorities of Apna Ghar, a state-run home for delinquents in Goa, have banned mobile phones on its premises after police investigations revealed that its inmates and caretakers were part of a gangster-crime nexus.
On Thursday, police arrested gangster Zenito Cardozo, who with the help of Apna Ghar staff used to smuggle children out of the home to commit crimes and hand them back after a string of offences ranging from theft, robbery and even a murder.
"The functioning of Apna Ghar is 24 hours. Now that we have become aware that transactions like these were happening, we will ensure that no mobiles will be allowed inside," Sanjiv Gadkar, director of Women and Child Welfare, told IANS.
Apna Ghar is located in Merces on the outskirts of the capital and the nexus was busted by police after a minor inmate was detained last week riding a stolen motorcycle. On inquiry, the minor confessed that he was smuggled out by child caretaker Videsh Mandrekar and handed over to Zenito.
Both Videsh and Zenito have been arrested and more staffers of Apna Ghar are expected to be questioned by police. Six inmates have similarly confessed to the modus operandi and have told police they were part of crimes ranging from theft of vehicles to burglaries, armed robberies and even a murder at Siridao beach, 10 km from here.
"We were never aware that our own staff was involved in making children escape from Apana Ghar. It is a good thing that police have cracked down," Gadkar said.