Panaji, April 11 (IANS) The Bombay High Court bench in Panaji on Tuesday directed the Crime Branch of Goa Police to file an FIR in connection with the mysterious death of a former Roman Catholic priest Bismarque Dias.
The Crime Branch has also been asked to submit a status report of the investigation every three months to the court.
Dias, who was protesting against rampant and reportedly illegal real estate development near his village of St. Estevam, 15 km from Panaji, was found dead in a water body near the Mandovi river in November 2015.
Activists as well as opposition parties alleged the priest could have been done to death for opposing illegal real estate deals in the ecologically fragile parts of the Tiswadi sub-district, while police, which conducted the preliminary enquiry, had ruled out mischief claiming the former priest had drowned while swimming.
Speaking to reporters after the order was pronounced, Sudeep Dalvi, one of the several persons campaigning for a formal investigation into the death of the former priest, has called the court’s direction, a vindication of their contention that Dias’ death was suspicious and that the police had conducted a cover-up.
“This is a slap on the face of state government, in general, and the police department, in particular. It is a victory for all supporters of Fr. Bismarque and environment lovers in Goa,” Dalvi said.