Fearing public backlash, Goa serial killer’s wife shifted


Panaji : Anticipating public ire, the police have secretly shifted the wife of an alleged serial killer to an undisclosed location, after she was ostracised and threatened by the local community in a Goa village.

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Mahanand Naik has been accused of murdering 10 women over a period of 15 years. Since his arrest, his wife Pooja has been effectively hounded out of her home at Shiroda, 35 km from here, after it was burnt down by unidentified people.

The incident took place May 1, after Naik, already in police custody, admitted to killing four women under sustained interrogation. He has since, confessed to murdering six other women till date, taking his tally to 10 victims.

“We have been receiving reports that Pooja could be physically harmed by some persons who are reportedly close to the family of one of Mahanand’s victims. There is considerable resentment against Mahanand’s family in the area, which is why we are shifting her to a safe house for her own security,” a police official told IANS.

Pooja was also forced to run out of her parent’s home in Sanvordem in South Goa, which led to her spending a night at the Panaji police station for her own safety.

The police have interrogated her for her possible abetment of her husband’s crimes, following demands made by citizens living in the area, but have found nothing incriminating.

Auda Viegas, president of the Bailancho Ekvott, a women’s organisation that has taken up Pooja’s case, said: “The police have questioned her and have ruled out her involvement in the crime. The system has to look after her too, because she too is a victim in this case.”

Naik, 40, has gained notoriety in Goa as the ‘dupatta killer’, because of his chilling penchant for strangling each of his victims with their own dupattas (stoles).

According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (Ponda) Serafin Dias, Naik would lure the women with the promise of marriage and then on the pretext of introducing them to their ‘prospective in-laws’ would ask them to wear gold ornaments.

“Once they brought their gold ornaments along, he would take them to a desolate area and kill them. He would then strip his victims of their clothes to prevent identification and escape with the gold,” Dias told IANS, adding that the modus operandi was the same for all 10 victims.

Naik’s victims from 1994 to 2009 are Nayan Gaokar, Surat Gaokar, Sushila Fatarpekar, Darshana Naik, Sunita Gaokar, Anjani Gaonkar, Vasanti Gawde, Yogita Naik, Kesar Naik and Nirmala Ghadi.