The Goa Police arrested a 50-year-old man on Friday night in connection with the desecration of religious symbols in the state. During questioning, Francis Pereira admitted to have vandalised religious places and symbols in South Goa district, the police said.

“The accused was planning to desecrate an idol,” the police told PTI. He was arrested by a team of special investigation officers from Curtorim village in South Goa after a brief chase. “He had tried to flee from the spot on seeing a police team,” the officer said.

Superintendent of Police (South Goa) Arvind Gawas told The Hindu that Pereira is a habitual offender and has allegedly admitted to 150 cases. He is believed to have been carrying out such acts since 2003.

However, Director General of Police Muktesh Chander told ANI that they have yet to ascertain his motive.

At least 12 churches and a temple have been vandalised in the district since July 1. The Opposition had demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation, but Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had said he has full faith in the state police.