In a case that shook Goa two months ago, Surajit Ganguly, a swimming coach from Bengal who was living and working in Goa was outed on social media for allegedly molesting a 15-year-old female swimmer. The incident came to light when a post on Twitter featuring still frames from a video showing the molestation and addressed to Union Sports minister Kiren Rijiju went viral on the microblogging site. Having sparked outrage across the state, Rijiju in reply to the tweet assured the people that, “stringent action will be taken through Sports Authority. Firstly, it’s a heinous crime of serious nature so I’ll urge the Police to take stringent penal action against the coach urgently.” Now after two months, Ganguly has been granted bail.
Yesterday (Friday, November 22), the Goa Children’s Court granted bail amounting to ₹1,00,000, to Ganguly under stringent conditions. With the case having been registered in September, Ganguly who was absconding at the time was found days later at the Kashmere Gate area in Delhi while attempting to escape. He was remanded to custody and has been in jail ever since. On furnishing the bail amount, he has been released basis the following conditions:
- He is not allowed to interfere or tamper with evidence
- He is not allowed to threaten, induce or coerce witnesses, including the survivor and her family
- He is not allowed to visit the girl’s hometown at any cost
- To be present before court on every date of the hearing
- He is not allowed to leave the country without the permission of the court
The way forward
An FIR had been filed, and a case had been registered under IPC sections 376 (rape), 354 (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation). In addition to that, a case had also been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act or the POCSO Act, and the Goa Children’s Act. As per the courts, Surajit Ganguly was granted bail after his lawyer, Russel Pinto, stated in Ganguly’s defence that his client was out of a job and that a charge sheet has already been filed, and the investigation was completed. The president of the Children’s Court, Vijaya Ambre also stated in the bail order that following the filing of the charge sheet, arguments before charge are yet to be heard. Since the victim, the 15-year-old female swimmer does not reside in Goa, conditions can and have been imposed on the accused that he is not to interfere with her or visit her place of residence.
Since this is an ongoing case, it will be updated as and when details emerge.