Panaji | A local court on Monday extended by two days the police custody of Goa legislator Atanasio Monserratte who has been accused of buying and raping a minor girl and reserved until Wednesday its order on his bail application.
In his bail plea, the expelled Congress MLA said the charge of rape against him is a fertile imagination of investigating officer. Principal District and Sessions judge Pramod Kamat, who heard the arguments from defence and prosecution through the day in a packed courtroom, reserved the order on the bail plea for May 18.
Goa police is investigating the case against Monserratte who has been booked for buying the girl for Rs 50 lakh and raping her in March. He was booked under IPC sections 376 (rape), 328 (poisoning), 342 (wrongful confinement), 370 (A) (trafficking), provisions of Goa Children Act and Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The MLA’s counsel Rajiv Gomes argued against slapping of section 370 of IPC and section 8(2) of Goa Children’s Act in the FIR against the MLA. Referring to the statement recorded by the girl, Gomes said there was no sexual assault in this case as the girl never claimed or disclosed about it in her complaint.
The investigation officer should have had facts on record before applying the section of rape against the accused. The application of such a grave section shows the fertile imagination of investigating officer, Gomes told the court. He also challenged the arrest of Monserratte on May 5, the day he appeared before police, by an officer who was not investigating the case.
Gomes said the arrest was executed by police inspector Dattaguru Sawant though the case was investigated by Sawant’s colleague Sudiksha Naik. The investigation was conducted at the behest of political opponents of the accused, he stated. The defence counsel further said that by charging the MLA with rape, police were making the girl as a rape victim and are tarnishing her image.
The girl has mentioned in the complaint that she was offered spiked drink by a maid servant but the police have accused Monserratte of drugging her, which contradicts the girl’s statement, the counsel said. Advocate Damodar Dhond, representing the mother of the girl and another accused Rosy Ferros who have also sought bail, claimed discrepancies in the statements of the girl recorded before the Child Welfare Committee.