BJP’s Panaji MLA to go on trial in 2016 teenager’s rape case
Panaji: The North Goa district and sessions court on Thursday ordered BJP’s Panaji MLA, Atanasio Monserrate, to stand trial for allegedly raping a teenaged girl in 2016 and framed charges against him under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) Act. The trial will begin from October 17.
Monserrate, popularly known as Babush, is the first sitting MLA in Goa to face charges under Pocso. He has been charged with rape, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.
The survivor had alleged in May 2016 that she was drugged and raped by the then St Cruz MLA, Monserrate, on March 6, 2016. After the complaint, Monserrate had surrendered before the crime branch and was released on conditional bail.
The Goa police had filed a 250-page chargesheet in July 2018 and listed 40 witnesses.
While the survivor had alleged in her complaint that her mother had sold her to Monserrate for Rs 50 lakh, the police did not find evidence to name her mother as an accused.
Charges were also framed against Rosaria, alias Rosy Ferros, a resident of Caranzalem who is accused of abetting the crime.
After the court ordered trial, Monserrate said Monserrate would come clean and would not challenge the order of the district court.
Monserrate, a former minister, wields considerable influence over three assembly constituencies of Tiswadi taluka. Amid the campaign for the May 19 bypoll, the survivor had gone missing in April-end from a protective home run by avoluntary organisation. But a day after the bypoll she mysteriously resurfaced and is currently in a state-run protective home. The child welfare committee has custody.
Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate is the first sitting MLA in Goa to face charges under Pocso