Facing rape charge, Goa minister’s son cries trial by mediaDecember 10th, 2008 - 7:06 pm ICT by IANS
Panaji, Dec 10 (IANS) Counsel for Goa Education Minster Atanasio Monserrate’s son Rohit told the court here Wednesday that his client has been harassed and convicted by the media for the rape of a 14-year-old German girl “even before the trial”. “The media has been investigating the case more than the police are. Rohit has been subjected to a lot of unfair media scrutiny even before the trial started,” Rohit Monserrate’s lawyer Atmaram Nadkarni told IANS.
The case came up for hearing at the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court Wednesday after Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar took suo moto cognizance of the rape last month.
At the last hearing Nov 21, Justce Kumar in his show-cause notice to the state asked why the case should not be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for probe and why should not the bail granted to Rohit by a lower court be cancelled.
The court also grilled the police as to why the other influential accused in the case, Warren Alemao, was not arrested by the police. Warren is nephew of two cabinet ministers Churchill Alemao and Joaquim Alemao.
Meanwhile, in an embarrassing disclosure, the Goa police in an affidavit told the court Rohit was not absconding as was construed in the chief justice’s order of Nov 21.
“Rohit was never absconding. The police did not want to arrest him as the victim was not willing either to give her statement or allow a medical examination,” Superintendent of Police (North) Bosco George told the court Wednesday.
In his submission to the court, state Advocate General Subodh Kantak said Rohit was arrested Nov 1 before the girl’s statement was recorded by a local magistrate.
The sensational rape case caught the attention of the national media as sons and kin of three ministers and one BJP legislator were probed, which was riddled with inadequacies.
Justice Kumar and Justice S.A. Bobade of the Bombay High Court, while taking up the case, said: “If reports of the newspapers are correct even to some extent, then they demonstrate the apathy of the police machinery towards the rule of law. It is not only obligatory, but mandatory for the investigating agency to effectively and expeditiously progress with the investigation of a case once the FIR is registered.”