Eju Francis Falcao, the 61-year-old vice-principal of Yerwada’s Don Bosco School, has been arrested for allegedly molesting and attempting to rape a class X student of the institute. The accused was apprehended yesterday morning after the 14-year-old girl and her mother approached the police and registered a complaint, claiming that Falcao had called the victim to her cabin on January 2 and abused her.
“On a Sunday last November, I had gone to the school for extra classes. After completing them I attended the prayer at the church inside the school premises and was heading home when I was accosted by Falcao at the institute’s gate,” the girl said in her statement.
She added that the accused then asked her to accompany him to Mumbai, promising that he would take her to a good dance class. “However, I told him that I would consult my mother and would be able to go with him only with her permission,” she said. However, the victim’s mother did not give her consent and this allegedly made the vice-principal angry and he began behaving peculiarly with the teenager.
“On January 1, Falcao asked me to meet him the next day after school. I told my mother about this the same day,” the girl said in her statement. “On January 2, after completing classes, I went to Falcao’s cabin. As I entered, he locked the door from the inside, came towards me and held my hand in his on the pretext of showing me a file. I was scared and I tried to open the door. However, he came from behind, held me and molested me,” she said.
The victim said she cried for help, pushed Falcao aside and ran out after opening the door. “Three of my friends were passing through the lobby. I approached them and narrated the whole episode. On reaching home, I also told my mother everything,” she added.
The girl and her mother then registered a complaint with Yerwada police station. “We carried out a thorough investigation and recorded the statements of other girls and representatives of the school. On Monday night we registered a case against Falcao under sections 376 and 354 of IPC and arrested him yesterday,” said deputy commissioner of police (zone IV) Manoj Patil.
He added that the probe has revealed that the suspect had tried to rape the victim after molesting her. Falcao was later produced in court and was remanded in police custody till January 25.
Apart from this, a police officer, on condition of anonymity, told MiD DAY that cops are also examining reports of the accused earlier having molested other students by using blackmailing tactics — he would tell them that he knew about their affairs with boys, and even told some of them that he had in his possession some MMS clips of them in compromising positions. He had also, allegedly, taken a girl to Goa some time ago, and had warned her to not speak about the incident in public.
Investigating officer PSI Reshma Mulani, in her remand application before the court, sought seven-day custody of Falcao, citing that cops have to investigate how many other girls the accused had possibly misbehaved with.
A few parents, who were present at the school, however, refuted the girl’s charges against Falcao. They said the vice-principal is very strict by nature, and some days back he had caught the girl with a boy and reprimanded her. They suspected that the girl might have lodged a fake complaint to get back at Falcao.