The Gamdevi police arrested four persons on Sunday night for the assault on journalist Herman Gomes (26) and his friend Cavell D’Costa (27). Police have ruled attack by any political party or for ulterior motive. The accused have been identified as Nilesh Khedekar (20), Hemant Chougule (30), Siddhesh Parab (19) and Avinash Amle (26).
According to police, Gomes and his friend Cavell D’costa, returned from Bandra at 1.30am opposite where Gomes lived. They alighted opposite his residence at Gowalia Tank. D’costa had kept the taxi waiting, since he wanted to go to Byculla. However, the two accused, Khedekar and Amle who had tried to halt the same cab, thought nobody was seated. Khedekar and Amle were in a hurry, looking for a taxi to go back home, at Malabar Hill.
The other two accused, Parab and Chougule were standing aside, trying to hail taxis to help their friends. Upset thinking Gomes and D’Costa were taking time to pay, the accused got into an argument and a fight ensued. The accused were inebriated and started abusing Gomes and his friend and using a filthy language. They hit Gomes and D’costa, as the accused had worn knuckle dusters.
Gomes took Khedekar and Amle on, when the other two accomplices, Parab and Chougule attacked Gomes. After thrashing D’costa, the accused snatched his mobile phone. Parab and Chougule escaped on a bike while Khedekar and Amle ran away in an another taxi.
The accused were arrested from Tardeo on Sunday midnight, based on the First Information Report (FIR) by Gomes. Pravin Kumar Padwal, the Additional Commissioner of Police (south region), said, “After viewing the CCTV footage, the four accused were arrested on Sunday night from Tardeo. They don’t have any previous criminal cases registered against them. The accused are not from any political party.” He added, “The assault took place over an argument. It was not a pre-planned attack because of any news stories covered by Gomes. Seven teams were formed to arrest the accused.”
Padwal refuted the claims that the onduty police officials asked for evidence of the assault from Gomes. “The Gamdevi police has not asked for any evidence from Gomes for the assault on him. The police suggested he should be taken to the hospital first since he was bleeding near his right eye,” added he.