Congress’ Panaji MLA Babush Monserrate to face trial for alleged rape
Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate, Congress MLA from Panaji will have to face trial on charges of raping a minor girl back in 2016 after the North Goa District and Sessions Court rejected his plea to drop charges and discharge him in the case.
“The judge has ordered for charges to be framed on all those sections and charge is going to be framed on June 12. The second accused is going to be charged with abetment of these offences,” public prosecutor Roy D’Souza told reporters.
Monserrate will now have to undergo trial under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) for rape and wrongful restraint.
The Congress lawmaker said that the order was not unexpected.
“We had asked for dropping of some charges. We had filed for application before the framing criminal charges. Now we will have to go through the procedure of facing a trial so we will do that,” Monserrate said.
Monserrate has consistently denied all allegations but said that he wouldn’t speak on the nature of the complaint since the matter is sub judice.
“We are going to face trial here. We will go to the HC to tell them to expedite the matter. I want to tell them basically to finish it. Even it if goes on a daily basis I want to finish it. This order was on expected lines as my lawyers had first only told me,” he said.
In a statement to the police in 2016, the victim had accused Monserrate of buying her for Rs 50 lakh, drugging her and sexually assaulting her. Monserrate spent around eight days in jail after he surrendered before the police. He was granted bail eight days later after his lawyers successfully argued that the charges against him lacked credibility.
Monserrate had then accused the ruling dispensation of deliberately targeting him ahead of the Goa Assembly elections and has denied all the charges against him.
Monserrate won the recent Panaji assembly bypoll defeating BJP’s Sidharth Kunkolienkar. The election was held following the death of chief minister Manohar Parrikar. The loss in Panaji was the first time that the BJP had lost the seat in 26 years.
Last week, Police had booked the MLA , Panaji city mayor and a former deputy mayor for allegedly molesting a woman during an anti-encroachment drive outside a casino in the city.