Police to probe if Goa minister is sheltering rape accused

October 21st, 2008 - 7:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Oct 21 (IANS) The Goa police will probe a complaint from an activist-lawyer that Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate’s son Rohit, accused of raping a minor German girl, was being sheltered by a minister, Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik said Tuesday.Director General of Police B.S. Brar will enquire into the complaint made by activist-lawyer Aires Rodrigues that Public Works Department Minster Churchill Alemao was sheltering Rohit, who has been absconding for more than a week now.

“I will ask the DGP to look into the complaint. I have also asked the police department to conduct a daily briefing in this rape case to the media, as it is a sensitive issue,” Naik told IANS.

Earlier Tuesday, Aires Rodrigues, counsel for the victim’s mother Fadela Fuchs, accused Alemao of harbouring Rohit.

“We have received information that Alemao has sheltered Rohit in one of his properties in south Goa,” Rodrigues charged, adding he had already informed the police about the same.

He said those Goa ministers who were siding with Monserrate on this issue were now involved in a slander campaign against the victim.

“Recent statements made by Alemao and Power Minister Aleixo Sequeira are in bad taste,” Aires claimed, adding that Sequeira’s statement, reported in the local media, that “even if my son has done it, I would have defended him too” was unbecoming of a minister.

Rodrigues also cautioned the media and police against maligning the 14-year-old, who was already undergoing trauma.

Reacting to “police leaks” to the media that the girl had a “psychiatric history”, the lawyer said she had been under counselling for the last three months only “after the Rohit episode”.

Responding to reports that Rohit’s mother Jennifer had sought time to respond to the police summons, Rodrigues said the Monserrates were only buying time. “If they were innocent, they should have just come clean,” he claimed.

The Goa police are facing criticism for a 12-day delay in registering a rape offence against Rohit and the attack on Rodrigues on the night before he was to meet senior police officials along with Fuchs.

This comes at a time the image of the state police is dented following criticism about the way they handled the case of British teenager Scarlett Keeling’s murder in February.

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