Goa advocate general charged with giving legal aid to rape accused

November 17th, 2008 - 5:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Nov 17 (IANS) The role of Goa’s Advocate General Subodh Kantak in the rape case of a German minor has come under a cloud. The counsel of the victim’s mother Monday alleged that Kantak provided legal assistance to the main accused Rohit Monserrate, the son of a minister. “This is a rape case. It is a complaint filed by the state that charges the Goa education minister’s son Rohit with raping a 14-year-old girl. How can a state’s advocate general, who is supposed to fight for the victim, give the accused in this case any sort of legal help?” Aires Rodrigues said a press conference here.

Aires alleged that in mid-October, Kantak had discussed the case at a meeting in Nariman Point, Mumbai, in the presence of a senior Congress leader from Goa, noted lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani and Goa Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate.

“On the one hand the advocate general is the state’s top adviser on legal matters. He cannot pursue a brief for the accused simultaneously,” he told IANS, adding that the presence of a Congress leader at the meeting was equally ominous.

“The Congress is a ruling party. What message is this supposed to send to the people?” Aires asked.

Advocate General Kantak declined to comment on Aires’s allegations.

This is not the first time that the advocate general has been dragged into a controversy in the 14-year-old German girl’s rape case.

In October, Rohit’s mother Jennifer Monserrate had claimed at a press conference that she had spoken to the advocate general in connection with the case and had sought his advice.

Rohit was granted bail Nov 10, a day after the victim’s mother sought to withdraw her complaint saying she was “frustrated” with the police probe.

In her letter to the Calangute police station, the German mother said they were in a state of shock and were scared of proceeding with the case, especially after the murderous attack on her counsel Aires Rodrigues, the night before she registered her complaint.

In her police complaint Oct 2, the mother had complained that Rohit had raped her daughter. The police refused to register the complaint and took cognisance of it only 12 days later, after the German Consul General Walter Stechel wrote to the Goa chief secretary asking him to “vigorously” investigate the case.

The police and the state administration, whose role has been described as “dubious” by Aires, delayed Rohit’s arrest by over a fortnight, on the pretext that the arrest would be carried out only after the girl deposed before a magistrate.

Rohit had finally surrendered Nov 4.

Aires’ latest allegation assume significance as the Bombay High Court had earlier taken cognizance of the case on its own and had directed the state police to update it by Nov 20 on the investigations conducted in the case.

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