embarrassed authorities of Apna Ghar, a state-run home for
delinquents in Goa, have banned mobile phones on its premises
after police investigations revealed that its inmates and
caretakers were part of a gangster-crime nexus.
On Thursday, police arrested gangster Zenito Cardozo, who with the
help of Apna Ghar staff used to smuggle children out of the home
to commit crimes and hand them back after a string of offences
ranging from theft, robbery and even a murder.
"The functioning of Apna Ghar is 24 hours. Now that we have become
aware that transactions like these were happening, we will ensure
that no mobiles will be allowed inside," Sanjiv Gadkar, director
of Women and Child Welfare, told IANS.
Apna Ghar is located in Merces on the outskirts of the capital and
the nexus was busted by police after a minor inmate was detained
last week riding a stolen motorcycle. On inquiry, the minor
confessed that he was smuggled out by child caretaker Videsh
Mandrekar and handed over to Zenito.
Both Videsh and Zenito have been arrested and more staffers of
Apna Ghar are expected to be questioned by police. Six inmates
have similarly confessed to the modus operandi and have told
police they were part of crimes ranging from theft of vehicles to
burglaries, armed robberies and even a murder at Siridao beach, 10
km from here.
"We were never aware that our own staff was involved in making
children escape from Apana Ghar. It is a good thing that police
have cracked down," Gadkar said.