Charles Sobhraj AKA ‘Bikini Killer’ and Goa 30 years later!


Charles Sobhraj also known as the ‘bikini killer’ was notorious for his crimes. For this he received a lot of international attention as well. Goa had a brush with this serial killer way back in 1986. His operations were set up in prominent tourist destinations. Ranging from Thailand, Hong Kong, India etc. A visit to the famous O’ Coqueiro restaurant in Porvorim, Goa turned out to be this criminal’s doom. But backing up a little bit, ItsGoa investigates how this man ended up in Goa in the first place.

Where was Charles before arriving in Goa?

He was lodged in Tihar jail, New Delhi since 1976 under charges of murder. During his time in Tihar jail, Charles Sobhraj hosted a party by bribing the guards. During the course of the party he drugged the guards. After they fell unconscious Charles made it out of the prison.

Arrives in Goa

After that he is said to have moved to Goa. He would go around the state wearing different ‘disguises’ everyday to avoid being recognized by the authorities. In Porvorim he would come to O’ Coqueiro to eat ‘Chicken Cafreal’, a dish with its origins in Africa. From here he would make international calls.

Madhukar Zende who arrested Charles Sobhraj in 1971, was again tasked in apprehending him, in Goa. Zende arrived at the O’ Coqueiro restaurant disguised as a tourist on April 6, 1986. The policeman was left waiting for three hours before Charles arrived there. Identifying Charles was a difficult task for Zende, because of the long duration that had passed since he had last seen him and also the fact that he was wearing a disguise.

“A white Fiat drew up, and two men got out. One of them had a beard, ruffled hair, and was wearing a black cap, the kind you wear when you play cricket. The moment I saw him, my spine tingled. I was 90 per cent sure – he was heavier than when I laid hands on him last, he was without his spectacles, but I was sure – this was Sobhraj. And the fair foreigner with him could be none other than David Hall.” Zende was quoted.

After confirming it was Charles Sobhraj; the policeman walked over to him and said something that may sound as if directly borrowed from a movie.

“Hello Charles,” he said.

  • The exact reply that Charles gave varies in many different reports. He seems to have denied that he is Charles but was arrested and taken to Bombay (Now Mumbai).
  • He Spent another 11 years in prison. He was released on February 17, 1997. After his release Charles moved to France.
  • In 2003, Charles was arrested in Nepal under murder charges. His reasons for visiting the country are unknown.
  • In 2004, O’ Coqueiro was closed for two months for renovation. It is during that time a statue of Charles Shobraj was commissioned.
  • Umesh Pandit of Goa Potteries made that statue out of clay. It is placed a few feet away from the site where Charles was arrested.
  • The figure has a book in its hands to highlight the high intellect of the criminal. There are also chains around the wrist of the statue signifying the incident.

Charles still alive

Currently Charles is lodged in a Nepali prison and is undergoing a life sentence for murder. ItsGoa wonders if Charles still yearns for the delicious ‘Chicken Cafreal’. Guess we’ll never know or will we?