German mother, Goa police trade charges (Lead)

October 13th, 2008 - 12:18 am ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Oct 12 (IANS) A German woman who has complained that her daughter was being sexually harassed by the Goa education minister’s son, says police would “prefer” her to withdraw the complaint, though police said she was evading them.Speaking to the media Sunday, Fadella Fuchs alleged the police were sitting on her complaint filed on Oct 2.

“They said it is up to me to decide what to do. It seems they prefer that I withdraw the complaint,” Fuchs said, adding that she was contacted by the Goa police supervisory officer to fix an appointment to discuss the case only on Saturday, nine days after the complaint was filed.

Fuchs, a researcher on Indian mythology, in her complaint to the Calangute police had said that Education Minister Atanasio Monseratte’s son Rohit Monseratte had been sexually harassing her daughter by sending her lewd SMSs.

“After I learnt who the person was, I was shocked. I knew this would be very difficult. If he was someone else, the police would have registered an offence. Now I know they will try to attack my daughter’s character. It’s not my fault that the boy happens to be a minister’s son. I had to do this to protect my child,” Fuchs told the media.

She said she had been through an emotional ordeal in the last few days. “My daughter has been sexually used. Her mental health has been ruined. Sooner or later I thought I would find my child dead. I have seen it in the recent past,” claimed Fuchs, hinting at the sordid murder of British teen Scarlett Keeling in Goa this year.

She said that on Oct 3, a day after the complaint was filed against Rohit, his mother Jennifer Monseratte had visited her, imploring her to withdraw the complaint.

“Rohit knew my daughter was a minor. She turned 14 in July. You cannot allow youngsters to be used by adults, who they love and treat like friends,” Fuchs said.

The complaint even quotes some messages which Rohit allegedly sent to the victim. While most messages are vulgar in content, there are others which coax the girl to make sure that she drinks and smokes excessively. Another says: “Please make sure you do not get pregnant”.

In their reply, the police said they were expecting to meet Fuchs at the Calangute police station Sunday morning.

“Fadela did not turn up. We expected her to come and give us details of the case so that a formal complaint can be lodged,” Superintendent of Police (North Goa) Bosco George told reporters Sunday evening.

“Instead of arriving at the police station, the complainant went to the media with the story,” said a senior police officer.

Earlier, reacting to media reports, Education Minister Atanasio Monseratte had said that law should be allowed to take its own course and that he was open for investigation.

This is not the first time the Goa police have been accused of lethargy while handling a case involving foreigners. Earlier this year, public pressure had forced them to investigate the mysterious death of Scarlett Keeling, initially dismissed as a suicide.

The case was later withdrawn from the Goa Police and handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The police have also received considerable flak for failing to stick to procedure while investigating the controversial death of 65-year-old Aussie John Kelly last week.

The scandals involving foreign nationals has rocked Goa, a favourite tourist destination for international travellers. This, coupled with a global recession, has resulted in a dip in the number of international tourists visiting Goa this tourist season.

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