The case of the alleged rape of a Russian woman here took a serious turn on Tuesday following the cancellation of bail to accused John Fernandes by a Bench of the Bombay High Court in Goa.

The High Court set aside the earlier order of the Margao Sessions Court, which had granted anticipatory bail to the accused. Atmaram Deshpande, Public Relations Officer of the Goa police, said on Tuesday that this had vindicated their decision to challenge the bail.

Mr. Deshpande said that with Fernandes’ bail having set aside by the Court, the accused could be arrested any time.

The 25-year-old Russian, residing and working at Colva in south Goa, filed a police complaint on December 2 alleging rape by the accused.

The incident, according to her complaint, occurred at midnight on December 1 when she and another Russian woman were offered a lift in his car by Fernandes, who had joined them for dinner at a shack on the Colva beach. The woman also alleged that her drink was spiked by the accused and that she felt uneasy as a result.

She wrote to the Consul-General of Russia in Mumbai complaining that she was raped but a Colva police official allegedly compelled her to tone down the complaint. The case was transferred by the Goa police to the Crime Branch. On a fresh complaint obtained from the woman, the Crime Branch got a second medical examination of the victim done and seized Fernandes’ vehicle and interrogated him.

The victim was provided with security by the police after she complained of threats from supporters of Fernandes, a lower-rung politician from Colva.

Tourism Minister Francisco Pacheco wrote to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat expressing apprehension that tourists would lose confidence in Goa if complaints of serious nature like rape were not investigated thoroughly and the culprits booked by the police.

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