While minister’s son gets bail, ‘Scarlett’ haunts German mother (Lead)

November 10th, 2008 - 5:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Nov 10 (IANS) The son of a Goa minister charged with raping a minor German girl was Monday released on bail, a day after the victim’s mother told police she wanted to withdraw the case because she was scared her daughter could become “Scarlett II” - the British teen found dead in mysterious circumstances here. Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate’s son Rohit, 21, who had been in police custody since his arrest Nov 4 for allegedly raping and sending lewd SMS messages to the 14-year-old German girl, was released on a bail bond of Rs.10,000. He has been asked to report to the Calangute police station every day for the next three days.

In a letter to the Calangute police station Sunday, the mother of the German teen said: “Since the day I have filed the complaint on October 14, life has become living hell for both me and my daughter. There are allegations and counter allegations in the media and we have now realised that we have been trapped in a situation not in our interest. We are also scared of being Scarlett II.”

Scarlett Keeling was found dead in mysterious circumstances in February this year. Her mother Fiona Mackeown had alleged that Goa’s Home Minister Ravi Naik and his son Roy and the drug mafia operating in Goa were linked to her daughter’s murder.

In her letter, the German mother said they were in a state of shock and depression and were scared of proceeding with the case, especially after the murderous attack on her counsel Aires Rodrigues, the night before she was to formally register her complaint before a senior police officer.

“We have learnt the bitter truth, that making genuine complaints against the rich and mighty is entirely counter productive. We are constantly hounded, our names sullied, campaigns organised against us and all sorts of motives attributed to us,” the 14-year-old victim’s mother has stated.

She decried the fact that the minor girl, who was abused, was now being harassed. “We are unable to lead normal lives and even our lives themselves are at stake. We are crushed under the weight of the rich and mighty and are strangers unable to beat the system.”

The letter further said that Goa, which was once a nice place to live, had become a living hell. “In these circumstances, we do not wish to proceed with the complaint which may be treated as closed,” the letter, a copy of which is with IANS, concludes.

The mother had filed a complaint against Rohit Monserrate and Warren Alemao, nephew of Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao and Urban Development Minister Joaquim Alemao, alleging that they had raped her daughter.

Her counsel Aires Rodrigues told IANS that the mother was disgusted at the manner in which the police and the state administration were handling the case.

“The 14-year-old victim is being treated like the accused,” Rodrigues had said.

Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate told reporters outside the Goa Children’s Court premises here that he was relieved his son had got bail and maintained that he had “full faith in the judiciary”.

“We have just got bail now. I have always maintained that this entire case is nothing but a result of political rivalry,” he added.

Rohit has repeatedly maintained that he was innocent.

In her complaint submitted to the Calangute police Oct 2, the German mother had complained that Rohit had raped her daughter and was sending her lewd SMSes. The police refused to register the complaint and took cognisance of it 12 days later, only 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 Rodrigues, delayed the arrest of Rohit by more than a fortnight, on the pretext that the arrest would be carried out only after the girl deposed before a magistrate. Rodrigues had claimed that the state administration was “colluding to ensure that Rohit wasn’t arrested”.

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