Family of human rights activist Vernon Gonsalves, an accused in the Bhima Koregoan-Elgar Parishad case, has written an email to the Mumbai Police Commissioner alleging that two Crime Branch officers visited their residence at Mahakali Caves Road, Andheri East on Monday asking for his whereabouts, when he is currently lodged in Taloja Jail.
The email sent by Gonsalves's wife Susan Abraham, with the subject ‘Uncalled for visit of crime branch police to our residence on 11.05.2020’, states, “The purpose of this letter is to request you to ensure that in future, police officers do not make visits to our residence, to seek information about my husband Mr. Vernon Gonsalves who is presently in Taloja Jail.” A copy of the email is sent to the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court too, said Abraham, a lawyer.
“Two police officers visited our housing society to make inquiries about the whereabouts of my husband who was arrested on 28 August 2018, and has been in continuous judicial custody since then, a fact well known to the police,” Abraham alleged in the email.
“My son Sagar and I were shocked and disturbed at this uncalled-for visit,” the email read, and continued, “..a visit by the police creates a stressful atmosphere in our Society when its members are already battling with fears of the pandemic.”
For an hour, the police recorded their 25-year-old son’s statement about the whereabouts of his father, Abraham said. “This was outside our buildings gate in the afternoon. I thought they would be done soon and was shocked to see they were recording his statement. His father’s incarceration has already created trauma for him in the first place,” she said.
“They have time for this nonsense? This is nothing but intimidation and a waste of resources on the part of the police. They could have just taken her Undertrial Prisoner Number if they wanted," Abraham said.
When contacted, a senior crime branch officer, who did not wish to be named, said he would have to verify the facts before commenting on the matter.