The accused involved in the rape of a nine-year-old Russian girl was on Thursday identified by Goa police as a man from Uttar Pradesh working for a local pharma firm and both he and his colleague who has also been implicated in the crime are absconding.

The breakthrough for the police in identifying the accused as Aman Bharadwaj two days after the crime was committed on Arambol beach, 35 kms from here, came even as the incident triggered a rift in the State Cabinet with Tourism Minister Fransisco Pacheco leading the charge apparently targeting Home Minister and Congress leader Ravi Naik.

DIG Ravindar Yadav said Aman’s colleague Anil, who allegedly engaged the girl’s mother in a small talk on the beachside during the crime when the girl was playing in the water, has also been implicated in the case.

Mr. Yadav said a group of ten men working for the pharma firm had gone to the beach and the two accused broke away and went to an isolated beach stretch where the victim and her mother were spending some time.

Mr. Yadav said the police, which released the photograph of Bharadwaj believed to be around 30 years, was confident of arresting the two young men soon.

The incident has prompted the NCP to attack its ruling coalition partner Congress in Goa.

Mr. Pacheco, a NCP legislator, asked the Congress high command to act against the party Ministers who are not “able to handle their portfolios”.

“If some ministers cannot handle their portfolios then they should give them up,” Mr. Pacheco said, in a veiled reference to the Home Minister.

“I had moved a confidential file to Chief Minister and called for an urgent meeting between Home Ministry and Tourism Ministry in his (CM) presence,” Mr. Pacheco told PTI.

“But there was no response to my communication from Chief Minister’s Office,” said Mr. Pacheco who has often voiced fears about Goa being branded as India’s rape capital.

Mr. Yadav later told reporters that the second accused known by his full name of Anil Raghuvanshi hailed from Madhya Pradesh and was also missing.

He said Aman Bhardwaj had reported for the 8 a.m. shift this morning and later absconded. The two men, who came to Goa in 2008, shared a room in Dhirgal, a few kilometres away from Pernel where their pharmaceutical firm was located. They were working as assistant machine operators.

As per the girl’s statement, the accused threatened her with a sharp weapon before sexually abusing her in the water.

Police have registered cases under Section 376 of IPC and Section 8 (II) of Goa Children’s Act against the accused.

The Goa government has sent a detailed report to the Centre on the incident.

Superintendent of Police (North) Bosco George released a sketch of Aman Bharadwaj.

The girl’s mother, in her complaint with the Pernem police had described the accused as a tall, square-faced man with big round eyes and a white spot on the upper lip. She had complained that her daughter was raped between 5.30 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. on the evening of Jan.26.

Police have been raiding various guest houses in and around Panaji in the hunt for the accused.

Keywords: Russian girlrapeGoaprobe