Rohit Monserratte, accused of raping a German minor, gave himself up to the Calangute police on Tuesday afternoon. He is the son of Goa Education Minister Atanasio Monserratte.
Accompanied by his father and lawyer, Rohit arrived at the police station in a private car but with a beacon and was arrested at around 3 p.m. “Rohit has been arrested and will be produced for remand tomorrow,” Superintendent of Police Bosco George told mediapersons.
Defending his son, Atanasio Monserratte said he was innocent. “He is paying the price because I am a politician,” he told HT. Monserratte has been booked for abetting the crime.
Rohit’s surrender came minutes before the Goa Police was to submit a written progress report to the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on investigations in the case.
Taking a suo moto notice of the matter after reading media reports, Bombay High Court Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S. Bobde had given the police until November 4 to update it on the probe. The court had also asked why “none of the accused in the rape case had been apprehended”.
Their failure to nab Rohit had raised questions over the working of the police. “The state machinery is trying its best to ensure that Rohit is not arrested,” counsel for the victim, who is 14, Aires Rodrigues had told HT on Monday.
The police’s argument that they could only arrest Rohit on the basis of victim’s statement was an excuse, Rodrigues said. “First, the police claimed Rohit was missing. Then, they issued a look out notice and despite the notice, they allowed him to record his statement on the sly and then let him go. This is ridiculous,” Rodrigues said.
The girl’s mother has accused Rohit and Warren Alemao, a nephew of two Goa ministers, Churchill Alemao and Joaquim Alemao, of raping and abusing the minor. The police had refused to register the complaint, but had to act after German Consul General Walter Stechel wrote to the chief secretary.