Rupesh still on the run; police launch joint hunt

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 15 October 2015 22:21 IST

Women’s police and crime branch of Goa police have jointly launched search operation for Rupesh Samant, a journalist, inducted into four cases of sexual harassment.

He has been absconding since 26 September, the day after the first FIR was filed by two women journalists working under him.

Samant, who was working as Goa bureau chief of PTI and anchor of HCN cable TV channel, has been denied anticipatory bail by the court.

While his bail plea was rejected yesterday, he has not responded to almost eight summons issued to him since the first complaint was filed against him on 25 September.

The police have searched all the possible places he could be hiding, avoiding arrest. The search is still on.

The police have also issued a ‘look out’ notice for him last week, which is today found posted at all the police stations all over Goa.

“In addition, we have also posted the notice on the social media and even WhatsApp groups”, said North Goa SP Umesh Gaonkar.

The notice has already getting forwarded on thousands of WhatsApp groups, which prominently displays his photograph.

Meanwhile, as Samant’s lawyer has said they would appeal before the high court the dismissal of his bail plea, police have recommended to the government that Adv Ashwin Bhobe be appointed as the special public prosecutor to argue the case.

BACKGROUND

Samant is facing charges of insulting modesty of women through physical act, sending lewd messages on mobile, making sexually coloured remarks and making physical advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures.

The first FIR was filed against him on 25 September based on complaints filed by two women journalists, following which three more complaints were filed against Samant, of varying nature of sexual harassment of his juniors from 2012 till this year.

Public Prosecutor Sunita Nagvekar has pressed for his custody, expressing fear that Samant will pressurise the victims using his journalistic clout. 

She also pointed out that Samant is a habitual offender and has still not appeared before the police in a trespass case filed against him in Margao in 2013.

The victims were not coming forward to complain all these years, fearing about Samant’s social status as well as the senior position he was enjoying in the HCN channel, she explained.

However, following the spurt of FIRs of sexual harassment filed against him, Herald Group owning HCN channel had disowned him while he is also not reporting for PTI.

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