Goa Crime Branch to probe case of footballer's missing body

Oct 02, 2018, 09:33 IST | PTI

The footballer, Januz Gonsalves, died a few days ago while playing. His body was later taken to GMCH, Goa's biggest government hospital located near Panaji

Goa Crime Branch to probe case of footballer's missing body
Representational picture

The investigation into the case of missing body of a 24-year-old footballer from the morgue of Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) has been handed over to the Goa Crime Branch, a senior official said Monday. The footballer, Januz Gonsalves, died a few days ago while playing. His body was later taken to GMCH, Goa's biggest government hospital located near Panaji.

Family members of the footballer were in shock last week when they were told that his mortal remains were disposed of by GMCH through the Corporation of City of Panaji as an "unclaimed body". Director General of Police Muktesh Chandar told reporters that the investigation into the case, which was earlier with the Agassaim police, will now be carried out by the Crime Branch. The health department had suspended the head of GMCH's forensic department, Edumundo Rodrigues, for negligence after the incident came to light.

"Considering the gravity of the offence and to ensure a thorough and more professional investigation ofthe criminal case registered on September 29 and investigated by the Agassaim police station, stands transferred to Crime Branch with immediate effect for further investigation," Chandar said in a statement here.

The DGP has directed the police inspector of Agassaim to hand over the case papers and other related documents and material to the Crime Branch. The SP Crime Branch shall entrust this case to a competent police officer to conduct further investigation of the said case and submit a fortnightly progress report to this office," Chandar said.

Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who had visited the residence of Gonsalves at Aldona village in South Goa Sunday, said the guilty would be punished. "We have successfully managed to get the Crime Branch on board for this sensitive case of Januz, our young boy who passed away," Rane said in a statement released Monday. "This shows that justice is on its way and it is not the time to sit and watch. Lets all stand and help by every inch possible to provide justice and punish the guilty," he said. Rane said the investigation in the case would be reviewed fortnightly by the state government.

Meanwhile, the Congress has suspected the role of a human organ harvesting racket behind "disappearance" of the body of Gonsalves from the morgue of the GMCH. Goa Congress chief spokesman Sunil Kawthankar told reporters Monday that the role of such racket cannot be ruled out. "As per media reports, human organs had gone missing from bodies in 2009. It was found that72 temporal bones were missing from a body that time.

This time what has happened is serious. Hence, organ trafficking angle cannot be ignored. For this, there has to be detailed investigation," Kawthankar said. The Congress has demanded a probe under a retired judge of the high court judge. The opposition party also sought resignation of Rane on moral grounds. "Though Rane visited the family members of the deceased and suspended few officials in a damage-control exercise, we demand that he should resign on moral grounds," he said.

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