Voyeur keeps posh Goa apartment on the edgehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/voyeur-keeps-posh-goa-apartment-on-the-edge-5345897/

Voyeur keeps posh Goa apartment on the edge

A 20-year-old woman from a tony apartment complex went to the police on Wednesday, alleging that she had noticed a man watching her sleep.

Tulsidas Shirodkar, a resident of Taleigao, a Panaji suburb, was booked under IPC Sections 457 (trespass), 380 (theft), 354(c) (voyeurism). (Suvajit Dey)

Over the last two days, news had spread of a “pervert” allegedly breaking into homes after women claimed to have spotted him sneaking around their rooms in his underwear and occasionally pinching money from wallets. On Friday, the police arrested a 35-year-old man for voyeurism among other charges.

Tulsidas Shirodkar, a resident of Taleigao, a Panaji suburb, was booked under IPC Sections 457 (trespass), 380 (theft), 354(c) (voyeurism).

A 20-year-old woman from a tony apartment complex went to the police on Wednesday, alleging that she had noticed a man watching her sleep. “The details were sketchy as there was fear. When the police patrol went to the building, other women approached us,” said Siddhant U Shirodkar, Inspector, Panaji Town Police.

By Thursday, teams were formed. The police re-started a community police drive and walked to the adjoining buildings to speak to residents. In the building from where the official complaint came, 15 other women came with their versions. One had seen the man in the corridor, “his oiled body from a distance”, another said “he scaled walls”, one woman “felt she was dreaming of a man lying curled in the living room”, while another said she sensed “there was a sticky substance on the floor in the morning”. All versions were recorded by the police.

“We have to listen. Fear had captured the imagination,” said Inspector Shirodkar, who had also handled the case on voyeurism involving Union minister Smriti Irani. She had complained against staffers at FabIndia for snooping.

“When we took meetings at the buildings, only women came forward. Some said they felt shadows, others said they felt someone was in the rooms. One even asked if he was a Raman Raghav kind of person. Besides, a thief would rob only money, not underwear!” the inspector added.

Raman Raghav was a serial killer active near Mumbai in the 1960s.

The details of the community meeting spread on social media. Within 48 hours, the police teams found lacunae. The building had an exposed compound at the rear, with no CCTV or extended surveillance at public entrances. The police’s first request was to adopt the “know your neighbour’ philosophy. “We had to remind the residents of the basics. The management was asked to improve security. We also started hunting for a lean, oiled man who had to be mentally unstable,” said the inspector.

Old-school policing and Facebook conversations led to a witness, a taxi driver who called to say he had spotted a “strange-looking man walking hurriedly in the opposite direction” from the building at 3.15 am on Wednesday. The teams found a match — the man in a shanty in the neighbourhood. Neighbours confirmed that he used to harass women walking alone. The police had to wait for his 14 stray dogs to stop barking to catch him. They also recovered “incriminating evidence” — one undergarment — from the home of the accused.

When the accused was taken to the building, he used the steps to the first floor, and then flung himself to a window, showing how he climbed homes. “We are mapping his intrusions. This shows that societies in gated communities must start learning about back-up security plans. We are asking them to follow models that neighbouring states use in gated communities and also train the security on drills and proper watch, and do perimeter security,” Inspector Shirodkar said. “We will start our police model workshops and equip management and security of gated communities on the measures to avoid such trespass.”

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The accused will be sent to the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour for examination.