I was forced to incriminate vice-principal, says witness

A day after Don Bosco school vice-principal Edigious Francis Falcao (61) was arrested by the Yerawada police, one of the three witnesses has said that she was forced by the victim’s mother to make a false statement stating that the accused molested the victim inside his cabin on January 2.

“I was forced to give the statement about the incident, which I had no idea about. Vice-Principal Falcao is a good and kind hearted person, and he has been falsely implicated in this case,” said the witness.

Seeking freedom: Students of Don Bosco School yesterday sat on a protest demanding immediate release of their vice-principal. Pics/Krunal Gosavi

The witness is one of the three girls that the victim encountered outside the vice-principal’s cabin after the alleged molestation. In her statement to the police, the victim had said that she had told the three girls about the molestation when she met them in the school corridor after the incident.

The witness further said, “Her [victim] mother approached me and forced me to make such a statement, which is full of lies and I have not given any statement till date to the police.” She further added that on the day of the incident, the victim was not present in school and since then she has been absent.

The revelation came after school authorities called a press conference yesterday to show their support for Falcao, refuting all charges levelled against him. School authorities further said that the victim’s behaviour in the school was inappropriate, claiming that the victim was not present on the school premise on the day of the incident.

A teacher from the school, Rituparna Bhingare, too said that the victim’s behaviour in the school was not appropriate, and she was always seen roaming around with boys. “I once asked why she was roaming around with boys every time, to which she replied that she did not feel secure at home as her mother wanted her to do some ‘wrong things,” said Bhingare.

She added, “I even told her that she can approach the missionaries in the church and they can counsel her, but she did not pay heed to the concern. “She was even reprimanded for roaming around with boys and not paying attention to her studies. Probably that irked her and she has complained against the vice-principal,” said Bhingare.

Don Bosco parish priest Fr Anton D’souza said, “Falcao is a victim of a conspiracy and we will fully co-operate with the police and the investigations so that the truth will surface.” He further added that if Falcao is found guilty, the community will take stern action against him and he would not be spared.
Meanwhile, a major ruckus took place at the school premises after supporters of the accused allegedly assaulted two members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) who had come to submit a memorandum seeking stern action against the vice-principal.

DCP (Zone IV) Manoj Patil said, “The ABVP workers should not have gone to the school with their memorandum, instead they should have come to us.”
Patil, however, refused to comment on the alleged molestation investigation, and said that if anybody wants to provide any information on the incident, they should approach the cops. He reiterated that the police had lodged a case after the thorough investigation. 

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