Charges against Goa minister in rape case may be dropped (Lead)

January 6th, 2009 - 11:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Jan 6 (IANS) The Goa police are likely to drop the charge against state Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate of abetting his son Rohit, charged of raping a 14-year-old minor German tourist. The police have in their affidavit told the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court that there was no proof to proceed against the minister. They said their inference was based upon the opinion of the directorate of prosecution, where the case was sent formally for opinion.

The police had earlier named Atanasio Monserrate as an abettor in the case, because the vulgar SMSes received by the minor German girl, coaxing her to abort her pregnancy by going on a drinking and smoking binge, were sent from a mobile connection issued in the minister’s name.

Earlier Tuesday, the Panaji bench asked the Goa police to file within seven days a charge sheet against Rohit.

The bench comprising Justice S. B. Majumdar and Justice Nelson Britto told Advocate General Subodh Kantak to direct the police to file a charge sheet.

The court earlier pulled up the Goa police for their shoddy investigation in the case and had asked the investigating officers to do better.

About two months ago, Bombay High Court Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar along with Justice S. A. Bobade, while taking up the matter suo moto, had said: “If newspaper reports are correct even to some extent, then they demonstrate the apathy of the police machinery towards the rule of law”.

The police were blamed of shielding the minister’s don, with the victim’s mother even accusing the police and the administration of “conspiring collectively to ensure that Rohit evaded arrest”.

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