Murder theories laid to rest, but new fears surface

| SEPTEMBER 11, 2020, 11:22 PM IST

Director-General of Police Mukesh Kumar Meena has shut the lid on the sensational daylight murder of Margao Jeweller Swapnil Walke by stating that it was "an armed robbery gone wrong". Theories and speculations over gold robbery may have been discarded by the top cop, but there are many questions that have still gone unanswered. If the DGP is to be believed that armed robbery was the sole motive, and if this is the extent assailants can go, then Goans across the State have reason to feel worried and insecure.

Swapnil was shot and stabbed multiple times on the afternoon of September 2 at his jewellery shop in the heart of Margao. CCTV footage showed one of the assailants firing at him straight on the chest right after entering the shop. There is no visible threat to loot the shop. If decamping with gold is the objective, it is baffling to understand a hardened robber stopping at one pistol shot and engaging the victim in a scuffle, when there is an option of going through with the second and third shots to clear his way.

It is told that the gang did a recce of jewellery shops. In that case, it baffles the mind how a shop located within the city with close access to the road, and which is easily visible to the heavy traffic outside, became the ultimate choice. Leave alone Margao; there are several jewellery shops in other cities and even villages which could be better targeted. And it comes as a surprise that a planned robbery is so ill-timed that it was attempted at a peak hour.

While rejecting other theories, the DGP has revealed that there is no link between the deceased and the killer. He said that investigations have shown that there were no call details between the caller and the accused. However, there is no word over the revelation of contract killing made to the media by the fourth accused during his arrest.

While the DGP tried to clear the air over theories, the murder continues to perplex on several counts. It was from that fateful day of September 2 that police teams fanned across Goa to track the victim with even crime branch getting into the act. In an unprecedented action, the entire case was handed over to the crime branch within 24 hours, when the key accused were already in police custody. Are we to believe that Margao police are incapable of solving a robbery attempt?

The police may have given an abrupt burial to the Walke murder case, but it has thrown more significant questions in the minds of ordinary citizens. How safe are Goans? Senior police officers descended in the busy Margao markets on Friday planning new security arrangements. But, this armed attack is not just about Margao. Now there is greater fear in the minds of citizens across the State because for all they know an armed assailant can walk into any jewellery shop or business establishment at any hour and pick his target.

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