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Priest arrested under POCSO, remanded to one-day police custody

Pereira was arrested in connection to a case of sexual abuse registered with Bundgarden police on Friday, said Assistant Police Inspector Shilpa Lambe. "There are other sexual abuse cases pending against him in various police stations," she told The Indian Express.

Asked about the alleged delay in taking action against Bishop Dabre, Senior Police Inspector Patil said,"The investigation into the case is under progress." (File)

Pune city Police on Saturday arrested Father Vincent Pereira, a priest, under sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). He was remanded to one-day police custody by a city court.

Pereira was arrested in connection to a case of sexual abuse registered with Bundgarden police on Friday, said Assistant Police Inspector Shilpa Lambe. “There are other sexual abuse cases pending against him in various police stations,” she told The Indian Express.

Sardar Patil, senior police inspector with Kondhwa police station, said, “Father Vincent Pereira has been named in a sexual abuse case registered with us, in which he has been given interim bail. We have applied to the court to get his bail cancelled.”

Advocate Milind Pawar, who represented Pereira, said,”The first case against my client was registered under POCSO in 2018 with Wanawdi police station. In that case, the Bombay High Court had granted bail to Pereira and he was asked to remain present at the police station whenever summoned. Since then, he has not been associated with any institute. On October 3 this year, another case under POCSO was registered again my client with the Kondhwa police station, in which he had been granted interim bail.”

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On the case filed in Bundgarden police station, Pawar said, “A false case has registered against my client…”. Pawar said other than Pereira, at least five other priests, including some from Mumbai, have been made co-accused in these cases.

Two social activists, Dominic Lobo and Maruti Bhapkar, have registered the cases. “The victim’s parents brought the sexual abuse case to our notice. Under POCSO Act, anyone who has information about such incidents should inform the citizens. As alert citizens, we have done our duty. We want the culprits to be arrested no matter how powerful they are. But the Pune Police are delaying action against the co-accused, which includes top priests like Bishop Thomas Dabre,” said Bhapkar.

Asked about the alleged delay in taking action against Bishop Dabre, Senior Police Inspector Patil said,”The investigation into the case is under progress. The case was transferred to our police station on October 4 and since then we have been investigating the case and the Bishop’s role. The main accused has been arrested. Investigation against the co-accused is being conducted.”

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Earlier, Father Malcolm Sequeira, Vicar General of Poona Diocese and the spokesperson for the Bishop, had said, “There is no truth in the FIR lodged against the Bishop.

First published on: 27-11-2022 at 03:51 IST
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